One might well argue, for instance, that to add to the happiness of the already content or the undeserving is not to add to the general good at the same level as adding to the happiness of the discontent or deserving: that the value of happiness is in part determined by where it occurs.
Commentators have argued inconclusively over whether this is a form of socialism or merely "workers' capitalism". In it, incidentally, Mill gives the distinct impression that he is getting around to giving us what is to be taken as the summative or canonical form of his principle.
Autobiography, I: They thus tended to disappoint those of Mill's admirers who looked for a tougher and more abrasive agnosticism, while doing nothing to appease critics who deplored the fact that he was any kind of agnostic.
There is little doubt he would contemplate or support intervention in related cases, maybe lies about genocidal massacres. In other words Utilitarianism states that good is what brings the most happiness to the most people.
The questions will come up again in Chs 4 and 5 in connection with the largest work of liberalism of the 20th Century, John Rawls's A Theory of Justice. Mill, rather, claims that numbers are properties of aggregates and as such denote aggregates with those properties, and takes geometrical objects to be limit cases of real world objects System, VII: —1, —9.
Understanding the human world scientifically—understanding it as part of the natural world—of course puts pressure on the notion that human beings are in any real sense free. Mill had taken a position as a junior clerk at aged seventeen, working directly under his father, who had received the post on the basis of his authorship of A History of British India.
You get an impression of a sort of life and society Mill favours, with a lot of room for individualistic characters financially and otherwise able to carry out their experiments of living and enlarge their personalities, but no clear principle that sums it all up, or begins to tell us about the satisfactions of those doing ordinary jobs or raising children.
This is the harm principle. This is made obvious by a moment's reflection. Predating the revolution in logic that the late nineteenth-century ushered in, Mill thinks of deductive reasoning primarily in terms of the syllogism.