Simon Knutsson
Stockholm University
The most common argument against negative utilitarianism is the world destruction argument, according to which negative utilitarianism implies that if someone could kill everyone or destroy the world, it would be her duty to do so. Those making the argument often endorse some other form of consequentialism, usually traditional utilitarianism. It has been assumed that negative utilitarianism is less plausible than such other theories partly because of the world destruction argument. So, it is thought, someone who finds theories in the spirit of utilitarianism attractive should not go for negative utilitarianism, but should instead pick traditional utilitarianism or some other similar theory such as prioritarianism. I argue that this is a mistake. The world destruction argument is not a reason to reject negative utilitarianism in favour of these other forms of consequentialism, because there are similar arguments against such theories that are at least as persuasive as the world destruction argument is against negative utilitarianism.
Keywords Negative utilitarianism  consequentialism  utilitarianism  killing  replacement
Categories (categorize this paper)
Reprint years 2019, 2021
DOI 10.1080/0020174x.2019.1658631
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

 PhilArchive page | Other versions
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

Moral Thinking: Its Levels, Method, and Point.R. M. Hare (ed.) - 1981 - Oxford: Oxford University Press.
The Morality of Happiness.Julia Annas - 1993 - Oxford University Press.
An Outline of a System of Utilitarian Ethics.J. J. C. SMART - 1961 - [Carlton]Melbourne University Press on Behalf of the University of Adelaide.

View all 28 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

World Government: A Lockean Perspective.Michael Davis - 2013 - International Journal of Applied Philosophy 27 (2):269-275.
Revisiting the Argument From Fetal Potential.Bertha Alvarez Manninen - 2007 - Philosophy, Ethics, and Humanities in Medicine 2:7.
The Subtraction Argument(S).Alexander Paseau - 2006 - Dialectica 60 (2):145-156.
The Subtraction Argument(S).Alexander Paseau - 2006 - Dialectica 60 (2):145–156.
The Moral Status of Embryos.B. F. Scarlett - 1984 - Journal of Medical Ethics 10 (2):79-81.
Hare's Defense of Utilitarianism.Thomas L. Carson - 1986 - Philosophical Studies 50 (1):97 - 115.
Utilitarianism and Egoism in Sidgwickian Ethics.Robert Shaver - 2013 - Revue D’Études Benthamiennes 12.
Argument to Love: Logic and Rhetoric of Communication.Viktor Tchouechov - 2008 - Proceedings of the Xxii World Congress of Philosophy 49:121-127.
The Overdetermination Argument Revisited.Agustín Vicente - 2004 - Minds and Machines 14 (3):331-47.


Added to PP index

Total views
189 ( #62,990 of 2,520,750 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
45 ( #18,818 of 2,520,750 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes