Listening to Fleet Cooper perform John Stuart Mill's Utilitarianism is like attending the lecture of a favorite philosophy professor. Though the ideas contained in this audiobook can be dense and complex, Cooper always sounds as though he's speaking conversationally. His meter has a tone evocative of thinking aloud, which cordially draws the listener to the subject matter. In this famous treatise, Mill follows up on Jeremy Bentham's efforts to redefine morality. He objects to Bentham's hedonic calculus and argues that the "Greater Happiness Doctrine" is flawed, for one must take into account the inherent quality of one's pleasure when determining its ethical value.
This expanded edition of John Stuart Mill's Utilitarianism includes the text of his 1868 speech to the British House of Commons defending the use of capital punishment in cases of aggravated murder. The speech is significant both because its topic remains timely and because its arguments illustrate the applicability of the principle of utility to questions of large-scale social policy.
Public Domain (P)2012 Audible, Inc.
"... there are times when silence is a poem." - John Fowles, the Magus ^(;,;)^
Since I hadn't read Mill since college, I figured it was high time to revisit his famous ethical essay on, and defense of, social utility, justice and the greatest-happiness principle. I remember loving the clarity and simplicity of Mill's arguments when I was first exposed to this essay in college, and the central ideas of utilitarianism still resonate with me 15 years later.
Fleet Cooper's narration was good, but there were times when he managed to make JSM seem snarky. It was almost a dramatic reading of Utilitarianism. Not what I expected, but since it didn't cause me actual harm or pain, I'm not sure his reading violated an actual "standard of narration morality".
I wished the author had more carefully defined happiness. It seems to me that he took it for granted that can all agree on happiness. Seems like silly point, but given the centrality to his overall argument that it would be important to clearly define what happiness is, and isn't. I also didn't follow why you could equate utility and happiness which seems central in some passages. I am left with a big, "why?" nagging at me. I'm not even sure all that my "why" implies, but it's a great place to start with this book.
All around insightful. Not a sentence in this book did I find to be inessential. Written by a master craftsman of words with an intellect of precision and mind for making connections.
.. and short enough to go through, even multiple times. hard to get all in one go, but you can keep discovering. and discussing.
I hate being preached at... And that's exactly what this book does. For those people that like hearing gospel sermons then you may enjoy this as I think it's intended audience was for Christians that want to compare Christianity and utilitarianism. For the rest of the people that were just looking for unbiased information regarding utilitarianism - like me - I think it's better to give this audio version a miss. I didn't even take any concepts in because the narrator was so awful. I think I will have to read about utilitarianism in a book instead.
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