Singer's objection to Mill

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username3168344
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#1
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#1
Hey guys!

I'm just looking for some advice on a utilitarian related question. We were given an ED puzzle to do and this was the question:

Why is Singer unconvinced by Mill's distinction?

And this is my answer:

Singer claims that Mill's distinction does not work as the quality of pleasure is very dubious. Mill is just talking about pleasure and not something that is distinct from pleasure and thus, Singer has come to this conclusion that the distinction dosen't really 'work'.

Is this an accurate answer or does it make no sense whatsoever? Do you need anymore information to give a judgment?
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#2
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#2
(Original post by Emsio8)
Hey guys!

I'm just looking for some advice on a utilitarian related question. We were given an ED puzzle to do and this was the question:

Why is Singer unconvinced by Mill's distinction?

And this is my answer:

Singer claims that Mill's distinction does not work as the quality of pleasure is very dubious. Mill is just talking about pleasure and not something that is distinct from pleasure and thus, Singer has come to this conclusion that the distinction dosen't really 'work'.

Is this an accurate answer or does it make no sense whatsoever? Do you need anymore information to give a judgment?
Which distinction exactly?
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#3
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#3
(Original post by Sonechka)
Which distinction exactly?
This question is referring to the distinction between the qualities of pleasures so hedonistic utilitarianism. Hope that helps.
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#4
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#4
(Original post by Emsio8)
This question is referring to the distinction between the qualities of pleasures so hedonistic utilitarianism. Hope that helps.
Oh, I see. In that case, saying that the quality of pleasure is dubious (I would rephrase it as "the idea that pleasure can be divided into qualitative levels", else it sounds like you're talking about the quality of an individual instance of pleasure) is fair enough but I think you need to clarify what you mean by "talking about pleasure and not something that is distinct from pleasure." Is the argument that the "higher-order pleasures" prioritised by hedonistic utilitarians are not in fact distinct from any other type of pleasure, and therefore should not be judged differently? It's unclear at the moment.
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#5
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#5
(Original post by Sonechka)
Oh, I see. In that case, saying that the quality of pleasure is dubious (I would rephrase it as "the idea that pleasure can be divided into qualitative levels", else it sounds like you're talking about the quality of an individual instance of pleasure) is fair enough but I think you need to clarify what you mean by "talking about pleasure and not something that is distinct from pleasure." Is the argument that the "higher-order pleasures" prioritised by hedonistic utilitarians are not in fact distinct from any other type of pleasure, and therefore should not be judged differently? It's unclear at the moment.
Thank you for your help!
Its really helpful to see a different perspective.
On the section: "talking about pleasure and not something that is distinct from pleasure." I think I might have muddled up my words. I'll need to go back over the video clip to help give this line more clarity.
I believe the argument is referring to higher order pleasures. I wish that I could be of more help but I'm really struggling to get my head around everything. thank you for trying though.
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#6
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#6
(Original post by Emsio8)
Thank you for your help!
Its really helpful to see a different perspective.
On the section: "talking about pleasure and not something that is distinct from pleasure." I think I might have muddled up my words. I'll need to go back over the video clip to help give this line more clarity.
I believe the argument is referring to higher order pleasures. I wish that I could be of more help but I'm really struggling to get my head around everything. thank you for trying though.
No problem; I might be able to help you figure some stuff out if you let me know what you're struggling with (I've not read any works of Singer's where he criticises Mill, but I do have a general familiarity with hedonistic and preference utilitarianism).
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#7
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#7
(Original post by Sonechka)
No problem; I might be able to help you figure some stuff out if you let me know what you're struggling with (I've not read any works of Singer's where he criticises Mill, but I do have a general familiarity with hedonistic and preference utilitarianism).
I seem to be just writing down whatever is put on the board without actually understanding it. I've only just started the course so I'm not sure I'm comfortable enough with my teacher to ask for help. I don't want people to know I don't understand basically. I can't talk to him after the lesson because he'd expect me to make eye contact which is something I really struggle with and I wouldn't want him to feel like I wasn't listening. Oh dear. Im never going to improve at this rate.

Well last lesson we began by posing the question: "how does Mill argue we should differentiate between higher and lower pleasures?".
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#8
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#8
(Original post by Emsio8)
I seem to be just writing down whatever is put on the board without actually understanding it. I've only just started the course so I'm not sure I'm comfortable enough with my teacher to ask for help. I don't want people to know I don't understand basically. I can't talk to him after the lesson because he'd expect me to make eye contact which is something I really struggle with and I wouldn't want him to feel like I wasn't listening. Oh dear. Im never going to improve at this rate.

Well last lesson we began by posing the question: "how does Mill argue we should differentiate between higher and lower pleasures?".
First of all, it's totally fine not to understand things; everyone has things they might take a while to grasp, and your teacher will understand if you're nervous or if something is conceptually difficult for you. That is their job, after all! Asking for help is the only way to improve, as you rightly say, so please don't be ashamed to do it in any case, I'm glad you asked on the forum; if it's easier for you to ask anonymous people on the internet for help, then feel free to do it here.

Ok, so how would you paraphrase Mill's argument? Does it make sense to you?
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#9
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#9
(Original post by Sonechka)
First of all, it's totally fine not to understand things; everyone has things they might take a while to grasp, and your teacher will understand if you're nervous or if something is conceptually difficult for you. That is their job, after all! Asking for help is the only way to improve, as you rightly say, so please don't be ashamed to do it in any case, I'm glad you asked on the forum; if it's easier for you to ask anonymous people on the internet for help, then feel free to do it here.

Ok, so how would you paraphrase Mill's argument? Does it make sense to you?
I think I can understand this question. Mill is suggesting that pleasure should be chosen by the majority of people. He also talks of a judge and who is best to judge. The person who judges must have experienced both alternatives. I'd probably use an example with Socrates and a fool to explain that point.

Could I add anything else?
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#10
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#10
(Original post by Emsio8)
I think I can understand this question. Mill is suggesting that pleasure should be chosen by the majority of people. He also talks of a judge and who is best to judge. The person who judges must have experienced both alternatives. I'd probably use an example with Socrates and a fool to explain that point.

Could I add anything else?
Well, he's suggesting that a pleasure qualifies as "higher" if a majority of people (given that people are capable of experiencing both "higher" and "lower" pleasures) would prefer it to another pleasure, given that people will always prefer things which appeal to their superior minds and hence their ability to enjoy and appreciate "higher", more complex pleasures than those which animals would be able to enjoy. The key point here is the distinction made between the pleasures prioritised by humans and the base, animalistic pleasures which are of less value. You have the right idea concerning the judge
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