Book III: The Moral Ideal and Moral Progress.

Chapter I: Good and Moral Good.


No one of course can doubt that pleasures admit of distinction in quality according to the conditions under which they arise. So Plato and Aristotle distinguished pleasures incidental to the satisfaction of bodily wants from the pleasures of pure intellect. So too we might distinguish pleasures of satisfied desire from pleasures of pure emotion, and subdivide each sort according to the various conditions under which desire or emotion is excited. No one pretends that the pleasures of a sot are not really different from those of a man of refined taste. The question is in what sense, upon the principle that pleasure is the ultimate good by relation to which all other good is to be tested, these differences of kind between pleasures may be taken to constitute any difference in the degree of their goodness or desirability. All Utilitarians would hold that on one ground or another they might be so taken, but they would not all agree upon the ground. The strict Benthamites hold that such differences of kind between pleasures as arise from differences in their exciting causes only affect their value or the degree of their goodness, in so far as they affect the amount of pleasure enjoyed on the whole; while Mill holds that these differences affect the value of pleasures independently of the effect they have on their amount. The estimation of pleasures should not depend on quantity alone: quality is to be considered as well as quantity. (§163 ¶1)