Narrative, imagination, and the religion of humanity in mill's ethics

Journal of the History of Philosophy 44 (1):99-115 (2006)
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: This paper shows how the ethical benefits of Mill's Religion of HumanityÑa life imbued with purpose, an improved regard for others, and greater happiness for oneself from the pleasures of fellow-feelingÑare to be actualized through the imagination's creation of compelling narratives about humanity. Understanding the ethical importance of the Religion of Humanity therefore implies understanding the central role of imagination in Millian ethical life. This investigation serves to articulate a feature of Mill's utilitarianism that differentiates it from Bentham's, namely his commitment to the importance of a religious sensibility in the moral agent. It also raises the broader philosophical issue of what narratives a psychologically tenable humanist world-view requires



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Colin Heydt
University of South Florida

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