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. 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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  2. 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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  3. 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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  4. 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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  5. Utilitarianism with and Without Expected Utility.David McCarthy, Kalle Mikkola & Joaquin Teruji Thomas - 2016 - Journal of Mathematical Economics 87:77-113.
    We give two social aggregation theorems under conditions of risk, one for constant population cases, the other an extension to variable populations. Intra and interpersonal welfare comparisons are encoded in a single ‘individual preorder’. The theorems give axioms that uniquely determine a social preorder in terms of this individual preorder. The social preorders described by these theorems have features that may be considered characteristic of Harsanyi-style utilitarianism, such as indifference to ex ante and ex post equality. However, the theorems are (...)
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  6. 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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  7. Aggregation for General Populations Without Continuity or Completeness.David McCarthy, Kalle M. Mikkola & J. Teruji Thomas - 2019 - arXiv.
    We generalize Harsanyi's social aggregation theorem. We allow the population to be infi nite, and merely assume that individual and social preferences are given by strongly independent preorders on a convex set of arbitrary dimension. Thus we assume neither completeness nor any form of continuity. Under Pareto indifference, the conclusion of Harsanyi's theorem nevertheless holds almost entirely unchanged when utility values are taken to be vectors in a product of lexicographic function spaces. The addition of weak or strong Pareto has (...)
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  8. Experimental Ethics, Intuitions, and Morally Irrelevant Factors.Peter Königs - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies:1-19.
    SEE BELOW ("EXTERNAL LINKS") FOR A FREELY AVAILABLE PDF OF THIS ARTICLE /// ABSTRACT: 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 (...)
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  9. 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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  10. Permissible Killing and the Irrelevance of Being Human.Rahul Kumar - 2007 - 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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  11. 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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  12. Review of R. M. Hare, Sorting Out Ethics. [REVIEW]Ben Eggleston - 2000 - Mind 109:930-933.
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  13. Utilitarianism.Ben Eggleston - 2012 - In Encyclopedia of Applied Ethics, 2nd edition. pp. 452-458.
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  14. 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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  15. The J. S. Mill Bibliography: Recent Additions.P. J. Kelly - 1994 - Utilitas 6 (2):345-348.
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  16. The Bentham Bibliography: Recent Additions.P. J. Kelly - 1994 - Utilitas 6 (2):343-344.
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  17. 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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  18. 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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  19. 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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  20. 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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  21. 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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  22. 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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  23. 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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  24. 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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  25. 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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  26. 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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  27. Thomas Hurka, British Ethical Theorists From Sidgwick to Ewing.Jonas Olson - 2016 - Utilitas 28 (2):234-237.
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  28. 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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  29. 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.
  30. The Pursuit of Human Happiness.John Moffitt Jr - 1938 - Ethics 49 (1):1-17.
  31. 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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  32. 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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  33. 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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  34. 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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  35. Rights, Indirect Utilitarianism, and Contractarianism: Alan P. Hamlin.Alan P. Hamlin - 1989 - Economics and Philosophy 5 (2):167-188.
    Economic approaches to both social evaluation and decision-making are typically Paretian or utilitarian in nature and so display commitments to both welfarism and consequentialism. The contrast between the economic approach and any rights-based social philosophy has spawned a large literature that may be divided into two branches. The first is concerned with the compatibility of rights and utilitarianism seen as independent moral forces. This branch of the literature may be characterized as an example of the broader debate between the teleological (...)
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  36. Economic Equality: Rawls Versus Utilitarianism: Stephen W. Ball.Stephen W. Ball - 1986 - Economics and Philosophy 2 (2):225-244.
    Perhaps the most salient feature of Rawls's theory of justice which at once attracts supporters and repels critics is its apparent egalitarian conclusion as to how economic goods are to be distributed. Indeed, many of Rawls's sympathizers may find this result intuitively appealing, and regard it as Rawls's enduring contribution to the topic of economic justice, despite technical deficiencies in Rawls's contractarian, decision-theoretic argument for it which occupy the bulk of the critical literature. Rawls himself, having proposed a “coherence” theory (...)
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  37. What Is Wrong with Bestiality?Neil Levy - 2003 - Journal of Social Philosophy 34 (3):444-456.
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  38. The Correspondence of Jeremy Bentham. Ed. Stephen Conway, Volume Viii, January 1809 to December 1816. Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1988, Pp. Xxix + 587. [REVIEW]John M. Robson - 1989 - Utilitas 1 (1):153-156.
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  39. The Appeal of Utilitarianism.Robert Shaver - 2004 - Utilitas 16 (3):235-250.
    Utilitarianism continues to vex its critics even in the absence of generally respected arguments in its favour. I suggest that utilitarianism survives largely because of its welfarism. This explains why it survives without the backing of respected arguments. It survives without such arguments because justifying the value of welfare requires no such argument.
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  40. Utilitarianism and Distributive Justice: The Civil Law and the Foundations of Bentham's Economic Thought*: P. J. Kelly.P. J. Kelly - 1989 - Utilitas 1 (1):62-81.
    Between 1787, and the end of his life in 1832, Bentham turned his attention to the development and application of economic ideas and principles within the general structure of his legislative project. For seventeen years this interest was manifested through a number of books and pamphlets, most of which remained in manuscript form, that develop a distinctive approach to economic questions. Although Bentham was influenced by Adam Smith's An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, he (...)
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  41. No Title Available: Book Reviews. [REVIEW]Cyprian P. Blamires - 1989 - Utilitas 1 (1):167-168.
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  42. Act Utilitarianism and Decision Procedures: Robert L. Frazier.Robert L. Frazier - 1994 - Utilitas 6 (1):43-53.
    A standard objection to act utilitarian theories is that they are not helpful in deciding what it is morally permissible for us to do when we actually have to make a choice between alternatives. That is, such theories are worthless as decision procedures. A standard reply to this objection is that act utilitarian theories can be evaluated solely as theories about right-making characteristics and, when so evaluated, their inadequacy as decision procedures is irrelevant. Even if somewhat unappealing, this is an (...)
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  43. The Principle of Utility and the Principle of Righteousness: Yen Fu and Utilitarianism in Modern China: Qiang Li.Qiang Li - 1996 - Utilitas 8 (1):109-126.
    One aspect of the intellectual changes taking place in China in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries was the emergence of utilitarian ideas. Although it may be useful to think of modern Chinese thought from the perspective of the emergence of social Darwinism and nationalism, it is significant that the country's most progressive scholars at the turn of thecentury derived their inspiration from utilitarianism. Utilitarianism was accepted as a weapon with which to challenge traditional social, political, and cultural ideas, (...)
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  44. J. S. Mill's Liberal Utilitarian Assessment of Capitalism Versus Socialism: Jonathan Riley.Jonathan Riley - 1996 - Utilitas 8 (1):39-71.
    John Stuart Mill argued, in his Principles of Political Economy, that existing laws and customs of private property ought to be reformed to promote a far more egalitarian form of capitalism than hitherto observed anywhere. He went on to suggest that such an ideal capitalism might evolve spontaneously into a decentralized socialism involving a market system of competing worker co-operatives. That possibility of market socialism emerged only as the working classes gradually developed the intellectual and moral qualities required for worker (...)
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  45. Hardin's Utilitarianism: H. A. Bedau.H. A. Bedau - 1992 - Utilitas 4 (2):317-321.
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  46. Utilitarianism, Rights and Equality: David J. Crossley.David J. Crossley - 1990 - Utilitas 2 (1):40-54.
    Bentham's dictum, ‘everybody to count for one, nobody for more than one’, is frequently noted but seldom discussed by commentators. Perhaps it is not thought contentious or exciting because interpreted as merely reminding the utilitarian legislator to make certain that each person's interests are included, that no one is missed, in working the felicific calculus. Since no interests are secure against the maximizing directive of the utility principle, which allows them to be overridden or sacrificed, the dictum is not usually (...)
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  47. Étienne Dumont: Genevan Apostle of Utility*: Cyprian Blamires.Cyprian Blamires - 1990 - Utilitas 2 (1):55-70.
    In the years 1829 and 1830 there appeared in Geneva a short-lived journal called l'Utilitaire, edited by Antoine-Élysée Cherbuliez. In the preface to the first issue, the editor wrote that he was working ‘in the spirit of Bentham’, but did not wish to found a party tied to Bentham's name. He wished to emulate Bentham's thinking in so far as it was synonymous with a detached, neutral perspective on the world, a viewpoint superior to the strife of factions. Having spoken (...)
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  48. Eye of the Universe: Henry Sidgwick and the Problem Public: Bart Schultz.Bart Schultz - 2002 - Utilitas 14 (2):155-188.
    Henry Sidgwick has gone down in the history of philosophy as both the great, classical utilitarian moral theorist who authored The Methods of Ethics, and an outstanding exemplar of intellectual honesty and integrity, one whose personal virtues were inseparable from his philosophical strengths and method. Yet this construction of Sidgwick the philosopher has been based on a too limited understanding of Sidgwick's casuistry and leading practical ethical concerns. As his friendship with John Addington Symonds reveals, Sidgwick was deeply entangled in (...)
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  49. Nineteenth-Century Perceptions of John Austin: Utilitarianism and the Reviews of The Province of Jurisprudence Determined: Wilfrid E. Rumble.Wilfrid E. Rumble - 1991 - Utilitas 3 (2):199-216.
    In 1954 H. L. A. Hart wrote that Austin's work has ‘never, since his death … been ignored’. If it never has been completely ignored, interest in it has periodically waxed and waned. The interest definitely waxed in the 1980s. More books were published about Austin in this period than in any other decade since his death in 1859. Although this literature contains discussions of some of the nineteenth-century responses to his work, they are not the focus of it. Certain (...)
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  50. Maximin Justice, Sacrifice, and the Reciprocity Argument: A Pragmatic Reassessment of the Rawls/Nozick Debate: Stephen W. Ball.Stephen W. Ball - 1993 - Utilitas 5 (2):157-184.
    Theories of economic justice are characteristically based on abstract ethical concerns often unrelated to practical distributive results. Two decades ago, Rawls's theory of justice began as a reaction against the alleged ‘sacrifices’ condoned by utilitarian theory. One variant of this objection is that utilitarianism permits gross inequalities, severe deprivations of individual liberty, or even the enslavement of society's least well-off individuals. There are, however, more subtle forms of the objection. In Rawls, it is often waged without any claim that utilitarianism (...)
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