Henry R. West
This chapter begins with an overview of John Stuart Mill's life and philosophy. Mill's chief contributions to the history of ethics are two-fold. The first was to popularize utilitarianism: to present utilitarianism in a short text, written by a recognized great philosopher, which could be read with apparent understanding by an ordinary person. The second was to persuade academic philosophers to take utilitarianism so seriously that it could compete with Aristotle and Kant as one of the three greatest traditions in ethics. The discussions then turn to Mill's complex theory of morality and theory of justice.
This article analyzes Nietzsche’s notion of “order of rank.” It identifies five interpretations of order of rank: Natural Aristocracy, Mythic Archaism, Political, Anthropological, and Transcendental, and then argues that it is the Transcendental that is fundamental for Nietzsche. Only the Transcendental interpretation can account for several of Nietzsche’s claims about order of rank: that it is “problematic,” constructed, processual, primarily important to “the human type” rather than to various fixed types, and intrinsically social in nature.
This chapter demonstrates that Rousseau sets out no systematic moral theory of his own but rather a series of theories about other matters (political, educational, religious) which contain remarks and opinions relevant to ethics, beginning with a discussion of his theory of psychological development. It then explores a number of possible answers to the questions: what, according to Rousseau is morality, and why should we be moral? Next, the chapter explains the meaning of Rousseau's natural goodness thesis. It presents two main accounts of how individuals can achieve a flourishing and satisfied life, the first of which is Rousseau's educational theory, as articulated in Emile; the second is the political philosophy he advances in the Social Contract.