John Stuart Mill. Three Conceptions of Nature Mill vs. Aquinas on Teleology Mill vs. Rousseau on the Noble Savage Millâ€™s Ethical Dualism. Utilitarianism: Jeremy Bentham. 1. Universal hedonism: everyone always seeks to maximize own pleasure, minimize own pain.
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Mill offers two definitions:
Aquinas proceeds in a bottom-up fashion:
Mill's imagined theologian proceeds in a top-down fashion:
However, premise 2 is problematic: is it obvious that a good God must intend universal happiness (unless you’re a utilitarian)?
Either way, the concept "contrary to nature" is useless.
Applies only to the “top-down” conception of teleology.
"We recognize the great service rendered by Darwin to natural science by restoring teleology to it, so that instead of having morphology against teleology, we shall have henceforth morphology married to teleology." Nature, June 4, 1874.
"What you say about teleology pleases me especially, and I do not think anyone else ever noticed the point. I have always said that you were the man to hit the nail on the head." (quoted in Autobiography, p. 308)
"One of the great services rendered by my father to the study of Natural History is the revival of Teleology. The evolutionist studies the purpose or meaning of organs with the zeal of the older Teleologist, but with far wider and more coherent purpose."