Two Concepts of Rule Utilitarianism

Journal of Moral Philosophy 5 (2):227-255 (2008)
The notion of rule utilitarianism (a twentieth-century addition to the canon of utilitarian thought) has been discussed under two main headings—ideal-rule utilitarianism and 'indirect' utilitarianism. The distinction between them is often hazy. But we can sketch out each perspective along three different dimensions, contrasting the two conceptions of rule utilitarianism at each of three main hinge points: (1) the grounding of rules, (2) the allowed complexity of rules, (3) the conflict of rules. These two profiles constitute ideal types, but they help us see that we can regiment and focus utilitarian intuitions in two quite distinct ways. An interesting test case is provided by J.S. Mill. He has been associated with each of these perspectives (with a utilitarianism of ideal rules by R.B. Brandt and with indirect utilitarianism by John Gray), but careful attention to Mill's main arguments indicates, I believe, that he adheres to neither consistently, though he is closer to the indirect utilitarian position.
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1163/174552408X328993
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
Edit this record
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Mark as duplicate
Request removal from index
Revision history
Download options
Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 31,812
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
Introducing Variable-Rate Rule-Utilitarianism.Michael Ridge - 2006 - Philosophical Quarterly 56 (223):242 - 253.
Measuring the Consequences of Rules.Holly Smith - 2010 - Utilitas 22 (4):413-433.
Rex Martin on Mill and Rule Utilitarianism.Larry James - 2007 - Southwest Philosophy Review 23 (2):5-8.
Mill's Rule Utilitarianism in Context.Rex Martin - 2010 - In Ben Eggleston, Dale E. Miller & D. Weinstein (eds.), John Stuart Mill and the Art of Life. Oxford University Press.
Utilitarianism, Contractualism and Demandingness.Alison Hills - 2010 - Philosophical Quarterly 60 (239):225-242.
Variable Versus Fixed-Rate Rule-Utilitarianism.Brad Hooker & Guy Fletcher - 2008 - Philosophical Quarterly 58 (231):344–352.
Motilal Shastri's “Rule Utilitarianism”.Richard M. Fox - 1986 - Philosophy Research Archives 12:155-162.
A Utilitarian Reply to Dr. McCloskey.T. L. S. Sprigge - 1965 - Inquiry : An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 8 (1-4):264 – 291.
Added to PP index

Total downloads
99 ( #58,733 of 2,231,552 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
13 ( #34,825 of 2,231,552 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads
My notes
Sign in to use this feature