Bentham's Equality-Sensitive Utilitarianism

Utilitas 10 (2):144- (1998)
Rosen argues that Bentham's utilitarian doctrine was sensitive to distributive concerns and would not countenance sacrifice of fundamental individual interests for aggregate gains in happiness in society. This essay seeks to extend and deepen Rosen's argument. It is argued that Bentham's equality-sensitive principle of utility is an expression of an individualist conception of human happiness which contrasts sharply with the orthodox utilitarian abstract conception. Evidence for this interpretation of the basic motivation of Bentham's doctrine is drawn from his view of the relationship between happiness and expectations, from various expressions of his formula, and from his reformulations of the principle of utility itself late in his career
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DOI 10.1017/S0953820800006063
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