Title page for ETD etd-2847102939721181

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Miller, J. Joseph
Author's Email Address jjmiller@vt.edu
URN etd-2847102939721181
Title Quality and Competence: An Analysis of the Role of Mill's Qualitative Hedonism on his Conception of Representative Democracy
Degree Master of Arts
Department Philosophy
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Christman, John P.
White, Stephen K.
Croskery, Patrick T. Committee Chair
  • john stuart mill
  • utilitarianism
  • individual choice-making
  • competence
  • participation
  • representative democracy
Date of Defense 1997-04-15
Availability unrestricted
Traditionally, John Stuart Mill has been

described as a transitional thinker who fails to

fully understand the values he espouses.

Critics contend that he cannot simultaneously

espouse both utility maximization and the

protection of individual choice-making as a

non-trumpable value. Like his moral

philosophy, Mill's political thought is also

rejected for interspersing, seemingly at

random, elements of utilitarianism with

concerns about respecting individual

choice-making. More recent attempts to

bring Mill's commitment to utilitarianism into

line with his respect for individual

choice-making are not wholly successful. In

this thesis, I offer an interpretation of Mill's

moral philosophy which reconciles the tension

between utility maximization and respect for

individual choice-making as a non-trumpable

value. In addition, I argue that my

interpretation of Mill's moral philosophy also

allows us to interpret his political thought.

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