One of the geniuses of the modern era, John Stuart Mill coined the term “utilitarianism,” the subject of this brief, five-part essay. By doing so, he reaffirmed and redefined the philosophical doctrine espousing the practical, useful idea that the rightness of an action may be measured by whether it achieves the greatest possible good for the greatest possible number.
It is true that similar confusion and uncertainty, and in some cases similar discordance, exist respecting the first principles of all the sciences, not excepting that which is deemed the most certain of them, mathematics; without much impairing, generally indeed without impairing at all, the trustworthiness of the conclusions of those sciences. An apparent anomaly, the explanation of which is, that the detailed doctrines of a science are not usually deduced from, nor depend for their evidence upon, what are called its first principles. Were it not so, there would be no science more precarious, or whose conclusions were more insufficiently made out, than algebra; which derives none of its certainty from what are commonly taught to learners as its elements, since these, as laid down by some of its most eminent teachers, are as full of fictions as English law, and of mysteries as theology.
CHAPTER I GENERAL REMARKS.
CHAPTER II WHAT UTILITARIANISM IS.
CHAPTER III OF THE ULTIMATE SANCTION OF THE PRINCIPLE OF UTILITY.
CHAPTER IV OF WHAT SORT OF PROOF THE PRINCIPLE OF UTILITY IS SUSCEPTIBLE.
CHAPTER V ON THE CONNEXION BETWEEN JUSTICE AND UTILITY.