An Atheist's Values by An Atheist's Values

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To adopt this is to acknowledge as so far good whatever anyone values or enjoys, or enjoys the pursuit of, because he does so, provided only that people's valuing it does not on the whole increase misery. htm (4 of 14)10/24/2007 12:18:25 PM An Atheist's Values In favour of adopting this principle we may say that it expresses a generous instinct which we wish to realize. Of course a thing is good, we feel inclined to say, if it pleases more than it harms. E. x. 4, §§ 10-11). We may also argue that it is by following this principle that a man becomes an objective critic of beauty, as opposed to an expresser of private feelings.

Instead of the greatest happiness for the greatest number, one should demand, more modestly, the least amount of avoidable suffering for all; and further, that unavoidable suffering ... should be distributed as equally as possible. (K. R. S. edition, p. ) Fourthly and lastly, I put forward this principle as a choice to be made; but Mill was not clear whether he was putting forward utilitarianism as a choice or as a fact, as a proposal or as a proposition. He often seems to be on the brink of saying that it is a proposal, for example when he disputes the Kantian view of morality.

4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 1. PRINCIPLES OF CHOICE ● Table of Contents Misery is an evil and happiness is a good. If anyone denies this, there is nothing to say to him. If he contemplates happy children without any satisfaction, if he calls to mind the vast array of miseries in the world such as wounded stags eaten alive by ants, oiled birds battered on the rocks, men and women with arthritis or insane depression, and feels no pity or disturbance, there is nothing to say to him. We choose to lessen misery and he does not.

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