Utilitarianism, Rights and Equality

Utilitas 2 (01):40- (1990)
Abstract
Bentham's dictum, ‘everybody to count for one, nobody for more than one’, is frequently noted but seldom discussed by commentators. Perhaps it is not thought contentious or exciting because interpreted as merely reminding the utilitarian legislator to make certain that each person's interests are included, that no one is missed, in working the felicific calculus. Since no interests are secure against the maximizing directive of the utility principle, which allows them to be overridden or sacrificed, the dictum is not usually taken to be asserting fundamental rights that afford individuals normative protection against the actions of others or against legislative policies deemed socially expedient. Such non-conventional moral rights seem denied a place in a utilitarian theory so long as the maximization of aggregate happiness remains the ultimate standard and moral goal
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