David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Inquiry 51 (2):123-146 (2008)
In this paper I argue for the following conclusions: 1. The widely shared beliefs that in utilitarianism and consequentialism (a) the good has priority over the right and (b) the right is derived from the good, are both false. 2. The most plausible components of utilitarianism that are used to present it as an intuitively compelling moral theory - welfarism, consequentialism and maximization - do not in fact support utilitarianism because they do not establish that the best state of affairs is the one with the highest sum total of the non-moral good. These components cannot determine which state of affairs is the best and therefore leave it entirely open whether one should opt for distribution-insensitive utilitarianism or a distribution-sensitive welfarist consequentialism. Since this is left open, it is not the case that distribution-insensitive utilitarianism is the default option and every deviation from it towards a more just distribution needs to be defended against utilitarianism. Rather, in light of our moral intuitions and the persistence of the objection from justice against utilitarianism, it seems to be the other way round, that distribution-sensitivity is the default option and any deviation from it bears the burden of proof.
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
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
L. W. Sumner (1996). Welfare, Happiness, and Ethics. Oxford University Press.
John Broome (1991). Weighing Goods: Equality, Uncertainty and Time. Wiley-Blackwell.
Judith Jarvis Thomson, Philip Fisher, Martha C. Nussbaum, J. B. Schneewind & Barbara Herrnstein Smith (2003). Goodness and Advice. Princeton University Press.
Amartya Sen (1979). Utilitarianism and Welfarism. Journal of Philosophy 76 (9):463-489.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
James Wood Bailey (1997). Utilitarianism, Institutions, and Justice. Oxford University Press.
Robert Audi (2007). Can Utilitarianism Be Distributive? Maximization and Distribution as Criteria in Managerial Decisions. Business Ethics Quarterly 17 (4):593-611.
Joseph Mendola (2006). Goodness and Justice: A Consequentialist Moral Theory. Cambridge University Press.
Julian Savulescu (1998). Consequentialism, Reasons, Value and Justice. Bioethics 12 (3):212–235.
Peter Vallentyne (1995). Taking Justice Too Seriously. Utilitas 7 (2):207-216.
Mathias Risse (2002). Harsanyi's 'Utilitarian Theorem' and Utilitarianism. Noûs 36 (4):550–577.
Added to index2009-05-20
Total downloads56 ( #61,073 of 1,726,249 )
Recent downloads (6 months)2 ( #289,836 of 1,726,249 )
How can I increase my downloads?