- John Stuart Mill proclaimed that it is better to be a dissatisfied human than a satisfied pig because of the superior quality of human experience. Contemporary utilitarians share this commitment of our species to the superior value of normal human life, though they base this on the greater richness of such life.
- This article challenges that defense of this commitment on empirical, conceptual, and epistemic grounds. How do we measure the richness of a life? And who determines the value of a life?
- Conclusion: Utilitarianism is to be commended for its inability to justify our confidence in the superiority of human life.
- This addresses a favourite quote for undergraduate discussion of the tensions within Utilitarianism, though the greater tension is with respect to the satisfied “fool” than with the pig. .
- See my BA Finals essay: Does Mill successfully explain why it is better to be Socrates dissatisfied than a fool satisfied?1.
- I’m not sure I’ll get to read with article, but its conclusions are absurd, maybe depending on quite what is concluded, so I suspect its arguments are slippery. It is a datum that “It is better to be a human being dissatisfied than a pig satisfied”, and philosophical theories need to deal with it.
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