The Schadenfreude Objection to Geoffrey Sayre-McCord's Defense of Mill's Principle of Utility
In Mill’s “Proof” of the Principle of Utility: A More than Half-Hearted Defense, Geoffrey Sayre-McCord provides a brilliant analysis of Mill’s “Proof”, which turns it from what many saw as a fallacy ridden embarrassment into what appears to be a persuasive argument. I will propose a Schadenfreude Objection to Sayre-McCord’s interpretation of Mill’s argument and argue that unless it is deflected the Schadenfreude Objection will be devastating to Mill’s argument. I will argue that the only way to deflect the Schadenfreude Objection is to deny the transitivity of goodness. I will conclude that by denying the transitivity of goodness we are no longer able to use Mill’s theory to morally prescribe actions, although we can still use it to prove that happiness is a good.