On the Cross of Mere Utility: Utilitarianism, Sacrifices, and the Value of Persons

Utilitas 12 (01):1- (2000)
Utilitarianism seems to require us to sacrifice a person if doing so will produce a net increase in the amount of utility. This feature of utilitarianism is extremely unattractive. The puzzle is how to reject this requirement without rejecting the plausible claim that we are often wise to trade lesser amounts of utility for greater amounts. I argue that such a position is not as paradoxical as it may appear, so long as we understand the relationship between the value of utility and the value of persons in a certain way. I argue that the traditional utilitarian position assumes an inadequate view of this relationship. I suggest a more plausible view of this relationship, one which implies that we may not sacrifice a person merely in order to produce a net gain in utility, where that utility does not result from the saving of any other persons' lives
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1017/S0953820800002582
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 16,667
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Peter Vallentyne (1993). Utilitarianism and Infinite Utility. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 71 (2):212 – 217.
Josh Parsons (2002). Axiological Actualism. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 80 (2):137 – 147.
Wesley Cooper (2008). Decision-Value Utilitarianism. Polish Journal of Philosophy 2 (2):39-50.
Joon Ho Kang (2008). Utilitarianism. Proceedings of the Xxii World Congress of Philosophy 10:221-228.
Mark T. Nelson (1991). Utilitarian Eschatology. American Philosophical Quarterly 28 (4):339-47.
Dennis R. Cooley (2000). Readjusting Utility for Justice. Journal of Philosophical Research 25:363-380.
Peter Vallentyne (1995). Infinite Utility: Anonymity and Person-Centredness. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 73 (3):413 – 420.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

7 ( #304,000 of 1,726,249 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

1 ( #369,877 of 1,726,249 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.