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This chapter interprets John Stuart Mill’s liberal version of utilitarianism, which is extraordinary in at least three respects. First, Mill distinguishes among different kinds of utilities conceived as pleasant feelings (including relief from pain) of different intrinsic qualities irrespective of quantity. A feeling of security associated with the moral sentiment of justice is said to be higher in quality as pleasure than any competing kind of pleasure, where justice is conceived in terms of a social code that distributes and sanctions equal rights and duties for all who have a voice in constructing the rules. Second, the utilitarian aggregation procedure is restricted to this higher moral kind of utility and may be depicted as a social welfare functional which operates within a limited sphere of morality and law. The sole purpose of the aggregation procedure is to generate an optimal social code of justice so that individuals are then free from coercive interference to act and pursue non-moral kinds of pleasures in accordance with their optimal rights and duties recognized under the code. Finally, Mill never discusses a standard utilitarian aggregation mechanism and seems instead to have in mind a democratic voting procedure, which can be seen as a purely ordinalist utilitarian procedure, for aggregating over the higher moral kind of utilities expressed by moral individuals who are competently acquainted with the different kinds of utilities.
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