Utilitarianism

Edited by Anthony Skelton (University of Western Ontario)
About this topic
Summary Utilitarianism is the moral doctrine according to which an agent's action is right in so far as it produces at least as much surplus welfare for the aggregate of sentient beings as any other action the agent could have performed in her situation. Its most important and influential proponents include John Stuart Mill, Henry Sidgwick, Derek Parfit, Shelly Kagan, and Julia Driver, each of whom provides the view with a unique formulation and defence. Utilitarianism forms the basis of much moral reasoning about practical moral problems, especially in the work of R. M. Hare, Peter Singer, Laura Purdy, and Julian Savulescu. It has a rich and detailed history. The view thrived in the nineteenth century. Critics of the view contend that it cannot accommodate our intuitions about the moral importance of justice and individual rights, that it is too demanding and that its commitment to impartiality alienates us from certain of the most important human relationships (e.g., friendship). It serves as an important rival to all forms of deontology on the one hand and to the ethics of virtue on the other.
Key works Historically important defences of utilitarianism are found in Mill 1863 and in Sidgwick 1901. Historically important objections to the view are found in Carritt 1947, McCloskey 1965, Rawls ms, Smart & Williams 1973, and Stocker 1976. Influential replies to these and other objections are located in Hare 1981, Parfit 1984, Railton 1984, Sumner 1987, Kagan 1989, Ashford 2000 and Mason 1998.
Introductions The very best introduction to utilitarianism is found in Shaw 1999. Useful discussions of the view appear in Moore 1965, Ewing 1953, Driver 2011, and in the papers in Sen & Williams 1982 and Scheffler 1988. Eggleston & Miller 2014 contains some helpful introductory essays on the history and the philosophy of utilitarianism. Driver 2010 and Schneewind 1977 provide useful accounts of utilitarianism's history. Singer 1979 and Purdy 1996 give one an indication of the practical implications of utilitarian moral reasoning.
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  1. Calibrating Variable-Value Population Ethics.Dean Spears & H. Orri Stefansson - manuscript
    Variable-Value axiologies propose solutions to the challenges of population ethics. These views avoid Parfit's Repugnant Conclusion, while satisfying some weak instances of the Mere Addition principle (for example, at small population sizes). We apply calibration methods to Variable-Value views while assuming: first, some very weak instances of Mere Addition, and, second, some plausible empirical assumptions about the size and welfare of the intertemporal world population. We find that Variable-Value views imply conclusions that should seem repugnant to anyone who opposes Total (...)
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  2. Aggregation Without Interpersonal Comparisons of Well-Being.Jake Nebel - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
    This paper is about the role of interpersonal comparisons in Harsanyi's aggregation theorem. Harsanyi interpreted his theorem to show that a broadly utilitarian theory of distribution must be true even if there are no interpersonal comparisons of well-being. How is this possible? The orthodox view is that it is not. Some argue that the interpersonal comparability of well-being is hidden in Harsanyi's premises. Others argue that it is a surprising conclusion of Harsanyi's theorem, which is not presupposed by any one (...)
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  3. Mill’s Proof and the Guise of the Good.Francesco Orsi - 2021 - Philosophical Explorations 24 (1):93-105.
    The guise of the good doctrine is the view that whatever we desire, we desire it under the guise of the good, i.e. it appears good to us in some way. In this paper I first clarify the role that the doctrine of the guise of the good plays in the first step of J. S. Mill’s proof of the principle of utility (in which he shows that one’s happiness is desirable as an end). Then I provide textual evidence in (...)
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  4. Will Carbon Taxes Help Address Climate Change?Kian Mintz-Woo - 2021 - Les ateliers de l'éthique/The Ethics Forum 16 (1):24-34.
    The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) crisis ought to serve as a reminder about the costs of failure to consider another long-term risk, climate change. For this reason, it is imperative to consider the merits of policies that may help to limit climate damages. This essay rebuts three common objections to carbon taxes: (1) that they do not change behaviour, (2) that they generate unfair burdens and increase inequality, and (3) that fundamental, systemic change is needed instead of carbon taxes. The (...)
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  5. Practical Ethics, 2nd Edition.Peter Singer - 1993 - Cambridge University Press.
  6. The Liberal Self: John Stuart Mill's Moral and Political Philosophy.Wendy Donner - 1991 - Cornell University Press.
  7. Una interpretación ironista y utilitaria del problema del yo en David Hume.Mario Edmundo Chávez Tortolero - 2020 - In Laguna, Rogelio y Gömez Salazar, Mónica, "Sofística y pragmatismo: la praxis ante el problema de la verdad".
    En este texto se aborda el problema del yo en David Hume, Para comprender la inconsistencia del pensamiento de Hume en lo tocante a la identidad personal, misma que ha sido señalada por diversos comentaristas, nos serviremos de dos conceptos: la ironía y el utilitarismo. El primero nos permitirá ver más allá de las propias afirmaciones de Hume para descubrir un conjunto de temas, problemas y elementos teóricos implícitos y poco desarrollados por él mismo, pero muy prolíficos en los estudios (...)
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  8. Em defesa de um conceito pluralista de felicidade, a partir de Stuart Mill.Sagid Salles & D. G. Alves Júnior - 2008 - Revista da Pesquisa and Pós-Graduação (UFOP) 8 (2):40-45.
    O objetivo deste texto é responder a uma objeção comum à doutrina utilitarista. Essa doutrina é comumente descrita como aquela que aceita que a ação moralmente correta é a que promove a maior felicidade possível para as pessoas envolvidas. A objeção que trabalhamos aqui nega a afirmação utilitarista de que a felicidade é o único fim da vida humana. Diferentes respostas podem ser formuladas de acordo com o modo que definimos o bem ou a felicidade. Sustentaremos que a versão da (...)
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  9. Frege’s Puzzle and the Ex Ante Pareto Principle.Anna Mahtani - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies:1-24.
    The ex ante Pareto principle has an intuitive pull, and it has been a principle of central importance since Harsanyi’s defence of utilitarianism. The principle has been used to criticize and refine a range of positions in welfare economics, including egalitarianism and prioritarianism. But this principle faces a serious problem. I have argued elsewhere :303-323 2017) that the concept of ex ante Pareto superiority is not well defined, because its application in a choice situation concerning a fixed population can depend (...)
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  10. The Arguments of On Liberty: Mill's Institutional Designs.Piers Norris Turner - 2020 - Nineteenth-Century Prose 47 (1):121-156.
    This paper addresses the question of whether all that unites the main parts of John Stuart Mill’s On Liberty—the liberty principle, the defense of free discussion, the promotion of individuality, and the claims concerning individual competence about one’s own good—is a general concern with individual liberty, or whether we can say something more concrete about how they are related. I attempt to show that the arguments of On Liberty exemplify Mill’s institutional design approach set out in Considerations of Representative Government (...)
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  11. Experimental ethics, intuitions, and morally irrelevant factors.Peter Königs - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (9):2605-2623.
    Studies suggest that people's moral intuitions are sensitive to morally irrelevant factors, such as personal force, spatial distance, ethnicity or nationality. Findings of this sort have been used to construct debunking arguments. The most prominent champion of this approach is Joshua Greene, who has attempted to undermine deontology by showing that deontological intuitions are triggered by morally irrelevant factors. This article offers a critical analysis of such empirically informed debunking arguments from moral irrelevance, and of Greene’s effort to undermine deontology. (...)
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  12. The Tension Between Divine Command Theory and Utilitarianism in Mozi and George Berkeley: A Comparison.Michael Hemmingsen - 2020 - Philosophy East and West 70 (3):740-756.
    Mozi and George Berkeley are philosophers who are not often put into conversation. However, I argue that comparing them can shed some light on the relationship between certain philosophical positions and their resulting moral philosophies. Specifically, I will draw attention to the way that their lack of interest in an appearance-reality distinction and in "essence" gives rise to a tension between consequentialism and divine command theory. These similarities exist despite the fact that Mozi and Berkeley otherwise have quite distinct views. (...)
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  13. Malthus, l'utilitarismo teologico e il baule. [REVIEW]Sergio Volodia Marcello Cremaschi - 2006 - Storia Del Pensiero Economico 3 (2):213- 219.
    I discuss Malthus, Thomas Robert "The unpublished papers in the collection of Kanto Gakuen University", Pullen, John; Parry, Trevor Hughes (eds). I argue that the theological dimension in Malthus’s overall project may be stressed in the light of some of the original materials published here for the first time. -/- .
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  14. The Eligibility of Rule Utilitarianism.David Mokriski - 2020 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 17 (3).
    According to the eligibility theory of meaning, often attributed to David Lewis, the referent of a predicate is the property that best balances the twin constraints of charity and eligibility, where eligibility is a function of metaphysical naturalness. This sort of metasemantics, which is motivated by its ability to resolve problems of indeterminacy and secure shared reference between disputing parties, can be somewhat friendly towards revisionary theories, since highly natural properties can act as “reference magnets,” securing our reference despite some (...)
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  15. Optimal Climate Policy and the Future of World Economic Development.Mark Budolfson, Francis Dennig, Marc Fleurbaey, Noah Scovronick, Asher Siebert, Dean Spears & Fabian Wagner - 2019 - The World Bank Economic Review 33.
    How much should the present generations sacrifice to reduce emissions today, in order to reduce the future harms of climate change? Within climate economics, debate on this question has been focused on so-called “ethical parameters” of social time preference and inequality aversion. We show that optimal climate policy similarly importantly depends on the future of the developing world. In particular, although global poverty is falling and the economic lives of the poor are improving worldwide, leading models of climate economics may (...)
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  16. The Impact of Human Health Co-Benefits on Evaluations of Global Climate Policy.Noah Scovronick, Mark Budolfson, Francis Dennig, Frank Errickson, Marc Fleurbaey, Wei Peng, Robert H. Socolow, Dean Spears & Fabian Wagner - 2019 - Nature Communications 2095 (19).
    The health co-benefits of CO2 mitigation can provide a strong incentive for climate policy through reductions in air pollutant emissions that occur when targeting shared sources. However, reducing air pollutant emissions may also have an important co-harm, as the aerosols they form produce net cooling overall. Nevertheless, aerosol impacts have not been fully incorporated into cost-benefit modeling that estimates how much the world should optimally mitigate. Here we find that when both co-benefits and co-harms are taken fully into account, optimal (...)
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  17. Prescriptions and Universalizability: A Defence of Harean Ethical Theory.Daniel Y. Elstein - 2014 - Dissertation, Cambridge University
    R.M. Hare had an ambitious scheme of providing a unified account of meta-ethics and normative ethics by combining expressivism with Kantianism and utilitarianism. The project of this thesis is to defend Hare’s theory in its most ambitious form. This means not just showing how the expressivist, Kantian and utilitarian elements are consistent, or that the three are each correct, but also that they are interdependent. The only defensible form of expressivism is Kantian; the only defensible Kantian theory is both expressivist (...)
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  18. The Argument Against Neutrality About the Size of Population.David Pomerenke - manuscript
    How should we as a society value changes in population size? The question may be crucial when evaluating global warming scenarios. I defend the intuition of neutrality, which answers a part of the question. It states that – other things being equal – it is ethically irrelevant whether or not additional people are added to a population. The argument against neutrality criticizes the intuition of neutrality as inconsistent. The contribution of this thesis is twofold: First, the framework of welfare economics, (...)
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  19. Life Extension Versus Replacement in Enhancing Human Capacities.Gustaf Arrhenius - 2011 - In Julian Savulescu, Ruud ter Meulen & Guy Kahane (eds.), Enhancing Human Capabilites. Oxford, Storbritannien: pp. 368-385.
    It seems to be a widespread opinion that increasing the length of existing happy lives is better than creating new happy lives although the total welfare is the same in both cases, and that it may be better even when the total welfare is lower in the outcome with extended lives. I shall discuss two interesting suggestions that seem to support this idea. Firstly, the idea there is a positive level of well-being above which a life has to reach to (...)
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  20. Aggregation for Potentially Infinite Populations Without Continuity or Completeness.David McCarthy, Kalle M. Mikkola & J. Teruji Thomas - 2019 - arXiv:1911.00872 [Econ.TH].
    We present an abstract social aggregation theorem. Society, and each individual, has a preorder that may be interpreted as expressing values or beliefs. The preorders are allowed to violate both completeness and continuity, and the population is allowed to be infinite. The preorders are only assumed to be represented by functions with values in partially ordered vector spaces, and whose product has convex range. This includes all preorders that satisfy strong independence. Any Pareto indifferent social preorder is then shown to (...)
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  21. Everything is Under Control: Buber’s Critique of Heidegger’s Magic.Daniel Herskowitz - 2019 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 86 (2):111-130.
    As part of a religiously-oriented analysis, Martin Buber associates Martin Heidegger’s later philosophy with magic. The present article is dedicated to explicating and evaluating this association. It does so, first, by fleshing out how Buber comes to depict Heidegger as an advocate of magic. Then, by examining other appearances of the category of magic in the wider context of Buber’s dialogical oeuvre, it demonstrates that what he has in mind when he invokes this category is a specific manner of human (...)
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  22. Grounding the Good.Troy Catterson - 2019 - Philosophia Christi 21 (1):85-102.
    I argue that moral goodness is necessarily self-predicating. That is to say, the property of being morally good is morally good. I then argue that reductions of moral goodness to natural properties, particularly utilitarian specifications, are not necessarily self-predicating. Therefore, such reductions are not successful. Finally, I consider the possibility of defining the good as “fulfilling God’s design plan.” I show that, under an Aristotelian construal of property existence this property is provably self-predicating.
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  23. Thinking Through Utilitarianism: A Guide to Contemporary Arguments.Andrew T. Forcehimes & Luke Semrau - 2019 - Hackett Publishing Company.
    _Thinking Through Utilitarianism: A Guide to Contemporary Arguments_ offers something new among texts elucidating the ethical theory known as Utilitarianism. Intended primarily for students ready to dig deeper into moral philosophy, it examines, in a dialectical and reader-friendly manner, a set of normative principles and a set of evaluative principles leading to what is perhaps the most defensible version of Utilitarianism. With the aim of laying its weaknesses bare, each principle is serially introduced, challenged, and then defended. The result is (...)
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  24. Environmental Ethics and Behavioural Change.Benjamin Franks, Stuart Hanscomb & Sean F. Johnston - 2017 - Routledge.
    Environmental Ethics and Behavioural Change takes a practical approach to environmental ethics with a focus on its transformative potential for students, professionals, policy makers, activists, and concerned citizens. Proposed solutions to issues such as climate change, resource depletion and accelerating extinctions have included technological fixes, national and international regulation and social marketing. This volume examines the ethical features of a range of communication strategies and technological, political and economic methods for promoting ecologically responsible practice in the face of these crises. (...)
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  25. Permissible Killing and the Irrelevance of Being Human.Rahul Kumar - 2007 - The Journal of Ethics 12 (1):57-80.
    This is a review essay of Jeff McMahan's recent book The Ethics of Killing : Problems at the Margins of Life. In the first part, I lay out the central features of McMahan's account of the wrongness of killing and its implications for when it is permissible to kill. In the second part of the essay, I argue that we ought not to accept McMahan's rejection of species membership as having any bearing on whether it is permissible to kill a (...)
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  26. Review of Roger Crisp, Routledge Guidebook to Mill on Utilitarianism; Geoffrey Scarre, Utilitarianism; and William H. Shaw, Contemporary Ethics: Taking Account of Utilitarianism. [REVIEW]Ben Eggleston - 2000 - Mind 109:873-879.
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  27. Review of R. M. Hare, Sorting Out Ethics. [REVIEW]Ben Eggleston - 2000 - Mind 109:930-933.
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  28. Utilitarianism.Ben Eggleston - 2012 - In Encyclopedia of Applied Ethics, 2nd edition. pp. 452-458.
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  29. The Inefficacy Objection to Consequentialism and the Problem with the Expected Consequences Response.Mark Budolfson - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (7):1711-1724.
    Collective action problems lie behind many core issues in ethics and social philosophy—for example, whether an individual is required to vote, whether it is wrong to consume products that are produced in morally objectionable ways, and many others. In these cases, it matters greatly what we together do, but yet a single individual’s ‘non-cooperative’ choice seems to make no difference to the outcome and also seems to involve no violation of anyone’s rights. Here it is argued that—contrary to influential arguments (...)
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  30. The J. S. Mill Bibliography: Recent Additions.P. J. Kelly - 1994 - Utilitas 6 (2):345-348.
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  31. The Bentham Bibliography: Recent Additions.P. J. Kelly - 1994 - Utilitas 6 (2):343-344.
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  32. The Methods of Ethics, Edition 7, Page 92, Note 1: William K. Frankena.William K. Frankena - 2000 - Utilitas 12 (3):278-290.
    This essay, one of the last that Frankena wrote, provides a scrupulously detailed exploration of the various possible meanings of one of Sidgwick's most famous footnotes in the Methods Long intrigued by what Sidgwick had in mind when he said that he would explain how it came about that for moderns it is not tautologous to claim that one's own good is one's only reasonable ultimate end, Frankena uses this note as a point of departure for a penetrating review of (...)
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  33. Przegląd wybranych odmian konsekwencjalizmu w etyce.Andrzej Stoiński - 2016 - In Dorota Sepczyńska, Marek Jawor & Andrzej Stoiński (eds.), Etyka o współczesności, Współczesność w etyce. Olsztyn, Polska: pp. 63-82.
    Głównym przedmiotem tekstu jest prezentacja różnych mutacji tej teleologicznej teorii etycznej. Wywodzący się z klasycznego utylitaryzmu konsekwencjalizm posegregowany został według kilkunastu różnych kryteriów. Ukazany zarys uzupełniono też zestawieniem zalet i wad przypisywanych tej teorii.
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  34. Justice and Public Health.Govind Persad - 2019 - In Anna Mastroianni, Jeff Kahn & Nancy Kass (eds.), Oxford Handbook of Public Health Ethics. New York, NY, USA: pp. ch. 4.
    This chapter discusses how justice applies to public health. It begins by outlining three different metrics employed in discussions of justice: resources, capabilities, and welfare. It then discusses different accounts of justice in distribution, reviewing utilitarianism, egalitarianism, prioritarianism, and sufficientarianism, as well as desert-based theories, and applies these distributive approaches to public health examples. Next, it examines the interplay between distributive justice and individual rights, such as religious rights, property rights, and rights against discrimination, by discussing examples such as mandatory (...)
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  35. The Ethics of Omission.Gregory Schwartz - 2019 - Think 18 (51):117-121.
    In society, power and responsibility are often linked, supporting the idea that with great power comes great responsibility. I assert that this link between power and responsibility is a form of the Act–Omission Distinction, a principle in ethics that there is a morally relevant distinction between doing something and omitting to do something, e.g. a difference between killing someone and letting someone be killed. As such, using trolleys, elected spider-men, and real-life cases such as R v Stone & Dobinson, I (...)
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  36. The Social Cost of Carbon: Valuing Inequality, Risk, and Population for Climate Policy.Marc Fleurbaey, Maddalena Ferranna, Mark Budolfson, Francis Dennig, Kian Mintz-Woo, Robert Socolow, Dean Spears & Stéphane Zuber - 2019 - The Monist 102 (1):84-109.
    We analyze the role of ethical values in the determination of the social cost of carbon, arguing that the familiar debate about discounting is too narrow. Other ethical issues are equally important to computing the social cost of carbon, and we highlight inequality, risk, and population ethics. Although the usual approach, in the economics of cost-benefit analysis for climate policy, is confined to a utilitarian axiology, the methodology of the social cost of carbon is rather flexible and can be expanded (...)
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  37. Deception in Research: Distinctions and Solutions From the Perspective of Utilitarianism.David J. Pittenger - 2002 - Ethics and Behavior 12 (2):117-142.
    The use of deception in psychological research continues to be a controversial topic. Using Rawls's explication of utilitarianism, I attempt to demonstrate how professional organizations, such as the American Psychological Association, can provide more specific standards that determine the permissibility of deception in research. Specifically, I argue that researchers should examine the costs and benefits of creating and applying specific rules governing deception. To that end, I offer 3 recommendations. First, that researchers who use deception provide detailed accounts of the (...)
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  38. Justice, Political Liberalism, and Utilitarianism: Themes From Harsanyi and Rawls.Marc Fleurbaey, Maurice Salles & John A. Weymark (eds.) - 1998 - Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
    The utilitarian economist and Nobel Laureate John Harsanyi and the liberal egalitarian philosopher John Rawls were two of the most eminent scholars writing on problems of social justice in the last century. This volume pays tribute to Harsanyi and Rawls by investigating themes that figure prominently in their work. In some cases, the contributors explore issues considered by Harsanyi and Rawls in more depth and from novel perspectives. In others, the contributors use the work of Harsanyi and Rawls as points (...)
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  39. Timothy L. S. Sprigge.Leemon McHenry - 2002 - In Philip Dematteis, Peter Fosl & Leemon McHenry (eds.), British Philosophers, 1800-2000. Detroit, MI, USA: pp. 266-274.
    This biographical essay covers the life and thought of British philosopher, Timothy Sprigge, including the development of his metaphysics and ethics.
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  40. Angelique: An Angel in Distress, Morality in Crisis.Necip Fikri Alican - 2018 - Dialogue and Universalism 28 (2):9–48.
    Michael H. Mitias argues that friendship is a central moral value constituting an integral part of the good life and therefore deserving a prominent place in ethical theory. He consequently calls upon ethicists to make immediate and decisive adjustments toward accommodating what he regards as a neglected organic relationship between friendship and morality. This is not a fanciful amendment to our standard conception of morality but a radical proposal grounded in a unifying vision to recapture the right way of doing (...)
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  41. Beyond Sacrificial Harm: A Two-Dimensional Model of Utilitarian Psychology.Guy Kahane, Jim A. C. Everett, Brian D. Earp, Lucius Caviola, Nadira S. Faber, Molly J. Crockett & Julian Savulescu - 2018 - Psychological Review 125 (2):131-164.
    Recent research has relied on trolley-type sacrificial moral dilemmas to study utilitarian versus nonutili- tarian modes of moral decision-making. This research has generated important insights into people’s attitudes toward instrumental harm—that is, the sacrifice of an individual to save a greater number. But this approach also has serious limitations. Most notably, it ignores the positive, altruistic core of utilitarianism, which is characterized by impartial concern for the well-being of everyone, whether near or far. Here, we develop, refine, and validate a (...)
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  42. John Gay and the Birth of Utilitarianism.Getty L. Lustila - 2018 - Utilitas 30 (1):86-106.
    This article concerns John Gay’s 1731 essay ‘Preliminary Dissertation Concerning the Fundamental Principle of Virtue or Morality’. Gay undertakes two tasks here, the first of which is to supply a criterion of virtue. I argue that he is the first modern philosopher to claim that universal happiness is the aim of moral action. In other words: Gay is the first utilitarian. His second task is to explain the source of moral motivation. He draws upon the principles of association to argue (...)
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  43. Thomas Hurka, British Ethical Theorists From Sidgwick to Ewing.Jonas Olson - 2016 - Utilitas 28 (2):234-237.
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  44. Actual Utility, the Mismatch Problem, and the Move to Expected Utility.Robert Gruber - 2017 - Philosophical Studies 174 (12):3097-3108.
    The mismatch problem for consequentialism arises whenever the theory delivers mismatched verdicts between a group act and the individual acts that compose it. A natural thought is that moving to expected utility versions of consequentialism will solve this problem. I explain why the move to expected utility is not successful.
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  45. Bentham on Liberty: Jeremy Bentham's Idea of Liberty in Relation to His Utilitarianismby LongDouglas G.. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1977.Gerald J. Postema - 1979 - Political Theory 7 (2):287-291.
  46. The Pursuit of Human Happiness.John Moffitt Jr - 1938 - Ethics 49 (1):1-17.
  47. The Replaceability Argument in the Ethics of Animal Husbandry.Nicolas Delon - 2016 - Encyclopedia of Food and Agricultural Ethics.
    Most people agree that inflicting unnecessary suffering upon animals is wrong. Many fewer people, including among ethicists, agree that painlessly killing animals is necessarily wrong. The most commonly cited reason is that death (without pain, fear, distress) is not bad for them in a way that matters morally, or not as significantly as it does for persons, who are self-conscious, make long-term plans and have preferences about their own future. Animals, at least those that are not persons, lack a morally (...)
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  48. Are Mental State Welfarism and Our Concern for Non‐Experiential Goals Incompatible?Eduardo Rivera-lópez - 2007 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 88 (1):74-91.
    : The question I address in this paper is whether there is a version of mental state welfarism that can be coherent with the thesis that we have a legitimate concern for non‐experiential goals. If there is not, then we should reject mental state welfarism. My thesis is that there is such a version. My argument relies on the distinction between “reality‐centered desires” and “experience‐centered desires”. Mental state welfarism can accommodate our reality‐centered desires and our desire that they be objectively (...)
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  49. Legislator Of The World?: A Rereading of Bentham on Colonies.Jennifer Pitts - 2003 - Philosophy Today 31 (2):200-234.
    It has become almost commonplace to claim that utilitarianism was, from its inception, an imperialist theory. Many writers, from Bentham’s own followers to recent scholars, have suggested that from Bentham onward, utilitarians reveled in the opportunity that they believed despotic power provided for the establishment of perfectly rational laws and institutions. A closer look at Bentham’s own views on empire, however, reveals a sharp break between his position on European colonies and that of followers such as James and John Stuart (...)
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  50. Sacrificing the Patrol: Utilitarianism, Future Generations and Infinity: Luc Van Liedekerke and Luc Lauwers.Luc Van Liedekerke - 1997 - Economics and Philosophy 13 (2):159-174.
    Many people believe that we have responsibility towards the distant future, but exactly how far this responsibility reaches and how we can find a reasonable ethical foundation for it has not been answered in any definitive manner. Future people have no power over us, they form no part of our moral community and it is unclear how we can represent them in a possible original position. All these problems can be circumvented when you take an impersonal decision criterion like maximizing (...)
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