Conventional Morality

Book Report/Review
Pages 14 (3514 words)
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Traditionally approached there appears little apparent compatibility in Mill's utilitarianism and Nietzsche's existentialist philosophy, but when looked at in greater depths a number of themes overlap. Although Mill's philosophy tends to be structured around community, and Nietzsche's around the individual, for both philosophers the concept of morality, and more specifically conventional (or Christian) morality, was at the heart of their understanding of society.


The basis of JS Mill's utilitarianism rests on a number of principles, centred on the ultimate aim of happiness. In Utilitarianism he stresses
It would be a mistake to suggest that Mill held to the strict utilitarian doctrine of the necessity to 'maximise utility', and that any other action is prima facie wrong. It is on this point that Mill went beyond his fellow utilitarians and attempted to reconcile the concept of utility within society. Mill has been criticised on this point for his lack of clarity, but it seems that this stems from the nature of his work, that rather than laying down a strict doctrine he was actively, throughout his writings, attempting to work out and accommodate his principles. Mill understood the promotion of happiness as
But what Mill has been criticised for, even by Nietzsche himself, is his failure to define what morality constitutes. He explores in depth the concept of morality, especially in regards to the idea of duty, but seems to suggest that morality itself is a given. J.O. ...
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