John Stuart Mill's Utilitarianism, which first appeared in three installments of Fraser's Magazine in 1861, was intended as a defense of the notorious doctrine identified with the liberal reformer Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832) and with the author's father, James Mill (1773-1836). The defense was successful. While "the principle of utility, or as Bentham has latterly called it, the greatest happiness principle," may have scandalized Victorian England, Mill's Utilitarianism became one of the defining documents of modern British and American liberalism. It is impossible to appreciate contemporary social and political life without coming to grips with utilitarianism.

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date


Publisher Statement

Copyright © 2005 Barnes and Noble. This chapter first appeared in Utilitarianism.

Please note that downloads of the book chapter are for private/personal use only.

Purchase online at Barnes and Noble.