Mill proclaimed that it is better to be a dissatisfied human than a satisfied pig because of the superior quality of human experience. Contemporary utilitarians share this commitment of our species to the superior value of normal human life, though they base this on the greater richness of such life. This article challenges that defense of this commitment on empirical, conceptual, and epistemic grounds. How do we measure the richness of a life? And who determines the value of a life? Conclusion: Utilitarianism is to be commended for its inability to justify our confidence in the superiority of human life.
The text of this article is only available as a PDF.
Copyright 2014 by the Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois