Edited By Lisa Foran
Alena Dvorakova - Pleasure in Translation: Translating Mill’s ‘Utilitarianism’ from English into Czech 107
Alena Dvorakova Pleasure in Translation: Translating Mill’s ‘Utilitarianism’ from English into Czech I Introduction This essay is an attempt to come to terms with a particular experience of translating philosophy and thereby finding oneself, as a translator, to be doing philosophy by way of translation – or, perhaps more accurately, of having philosophy done to oneself in translation. Specifically, the aim of this work is to describe a dif ficulty with translating the key term pleasure in John Stuart Mill’s classical treatise on utilitarianism.1 The body of this essay consists of three sections: the first section con- siders the project of translating Mill’s ‘Utilitarianism’ from English into Czech; in the second section, the problem with pleasure is presented from a philosophical perspective; and, third, the dif ficulty of conceptualizing pleasure is reconsidered as a problem of translation. II Translating Mill’s ‘Utilitarianism’: The Project and its Implications ‘Utilitarianism’ was originally published in 1861 in Fraser’s Magazine. The short treatise (or a long essay) was aimed at a lay readership and intended 1 All references will be to the 1863 version of the treatise used in John Stuart Mill, ‘Utilitarianism’, in Mary Warnock, ed., Utilitarianism (London: FontanaPress, 1962), 251–321. 108 Alena Dvorakova as a commonsensical presentation and a defence of utilitarianism: an act of rehabilitation especially against accusations that it represented, as Mill himself puts it in the second chapter, ‘a doctrine worthy only of swine’ (1962: 258). Since then, the essay has come to be recognized as one of the classical...
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