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Is Qualitative Hedonism Incoherent?

  • Jonathan Riley (a1)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 26 January 2009

Geoffrey Scarre has recently argued that the version of qualitative hedonism which I attribute to Mill is unsatisfactory for various reasons. In his view, even if it is formally compatible with value monism, ‘the Mill/Riley line’ involves non-hedonistic elements and offers an implausible account of the relationship between ‘higher’ and ‘lower’ pleasures. In this paper, I show that his objections, which are similar in spirit to those pressed earlier by Bradley, Moore and others against Mill, are unfounded where not confused. The Mill/Riley line does not rely on non-hedonistic standards and has sufficient flexibility to account for many different kinds of pleasures and pleasing activities. It remains a coherent version of qualitative hedonism, worthy of further consideration and study.

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  • ISSN: 0953-8208
  • EISSN: 1741-6183
  • URL: /core/journals/utilitas
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