Norm-Endorsement Utilitarianism and the Nature of Utility

Economics and Philosophy 12 (02):165- (1996)
Abstract
In this article, I shall suggest an approach to the justification of normative moral principles which leads, I think, to utilitarianism. The approach is based on asking what moral norms we would each endorse if we had no prior moral commitments. I argue that we would endorse norms that lead to the satisfaction of all our nonmoral values or goals. The same approach leads to a view of utility as consisting of those goals that we would want satisfied. In the second half of the article, I examine the implication of this view for several issues about the nature of utility, such as the use of past and future goals. The argument for utilitarianism is not completed here. The rest of it requires a defense of expected-utility theory, of interpersonal comparison, and of equal consideration (see Baron, 1993; Broome, 1991).
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