A Defense of Scalar Utilitarianism

American Philosophical Quarterly 54 (3):283-294 (2017)
Kevin P. Tobia
Yale University
Scalar Utilitarianism eschews foundational notions of rightness and wrongness in favor of evaluative comparisons of outcomes. I defend Scalar Utilitarianism from two critiques, the first against an argument for the thesis that Utilitarianism's commitments are fundamentally evaluative, and the second that Scalar Utilitarianism does not issue demands or sufficiently guide action. These defenses suggest a variety of more plausible Scalar Utilitarian interpretations, and I argue for a version that best represents a moral theory founded on evaluative notions, and offers better answers to demandingness concerns than does the ordinary Scalar Utilitarian response. If Utilitarians seek reasonable development and explanation of their basic commitments, they may wish to reconsider Scalar Utilitarianism.
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