Bentham and Mill were each hedonistic utilitarians. In your own words, compare, contrast, and evaluate these distinct moral theories. In your answer be sure to address the following:

  • What is hedonistic utilitarianism (and, in particular, what are its component parts)?
  • How does Mill’s version of hedonistic utilitarianism differ from Bentham’s? What made Mill think that Bentham’s theory needed to be revised—what objection was Mill responding to? How is Mill’s theory supposed to neutralize that objection? (In addressing this, be sure to clearly characterize both Bentham’s and Mill’s versions of hedonistic utilitarianism.)
  • What is Mill’s Comparison Test? What is it supposed to establish? How is it supposed to work? And are Mill’s reasons for appealing to it plausible? Why or why not?
  • What did Mill think the result of the comparison test would be when applied to all rational people, and what line of reasoning did he offer in support of his conclusion about this? (Hint: consult the famous passage in which he both mentions Socrates and a pig.) Are his thoughts about what the result of the comparison test would be plausible? Why or why not?
  • Is hedonistic utilitarianism a plausible kind of moral theory? If no, say why not. If yes, say which of Bentham’s or Mill’s version of it you find more plausible and why.

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