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The Utilitarianism series,
part of the Politics series

Utilitarianism is the idea that the moral worth of an action is determined solely by its contribution to overall utility: that is, its contribution to happiness or pleasure as summed among all persons. It is thus a form of consequentialism, meaning that the moral worth of an action is determined by its outcome: put simply, the ends justify the means. Utility, the good to be maximized, has been defined by various thinkers as happiness or pleasure (versus suffering or pain), although preference utilitarians like Peter Singer define it as the satisfaction of preferences. It may be described as a life stance, with happiness or pleasure being of ultimate importance.

Originally described by the phrase "the greatest good for the greatest number", its advocates eventually dropped "the greatest number".[1] Utilitarianism can thus be characterised as a quantitative and reductionist approach to ethics. It can be contrasted with deontological ethics (which do not regard the consequences of an act as the sole determinant of its moral worth) and virtue ethics (which focuses on character), as well as with other varieties of consequentialism. Adherents of these opposing views have extensively criticised the utilitarian view, but utilitarians have been similarly critical of other schools of thought. And like any ethical theory, the application of utilitarianism is heavily dependent on the moral agent's full range of wisdom, experience, social skills, and life skills.

In general, the term utilitarian refers to a somewhat narrow economic or pragmatic viewpoint. Philosophical utilitarianism, however, is much broader: most approaches, for example, consider non-humans in addition to people.


[edit] History

Jeremy Bentham

The origins of utilitarianism are often traced as far back as the Greek philosopher Epicurus, but, as a specific school of thought, it is generally credited to Jeremy Bentham.[2] Bentham found pain and pleasure to be the only intrinsic values in the world: "nature has placed mankind under the governance of two sovereign masters, pain and pleasure." From this, he derived the rule of utility: the good is whatever brings the greatest happiness to the greatest number of people. Later, after realising that the formulation recognised two different and potentially conflicting principles, he dropped the second part and talked simply about "the greatest happiness principle".

Bentham's foremost proponent was James Mill, a significant philosopher in his day and the father of John Stuart Mill. The younger Mill was educated according to Bentham's principles, including transcribing and summarising much of his father's work while still in his teens.[3]

In his famous short work, Utilitarianism, the younger Mill argues that cultural, intellectual and spiritual pleasures are of greater value than mere physical pleasure because the former would be valued higher than the latter by competent judges. A competent judge, according to Mill, is anyone who has experienced both the lower pleasures and the higher. Like Bentham's formulation, Mill's utilitarianism deals with pleasure or happiness. Mill thought Bentham's focus around pain and pleasure was almost animalistic, he regarded this focus and work around this to be "Pig Philosophy".

John Stuart Mill

The classic utilitarianism of Bentham and Mill influenced many other philosophers as well as the development of the broader concept of consequentialism. As a result, there now exist many different accounts of the good, and, therefore, many different types of consequentialism besides utilitarianism. Some philosophers reject the sole importance of well-being, arguing that there are intrinsic values other than happiness or pleasure, such as knowledge and autonomy.

Other past advocates of utilitarianism include William Godwin, David Hume and Henry Sidgwick; modern-day advocates include R. M. Hare, Peter Singer and Torbjörn Tännsjö.

Up to and including John Stuart Mill, utilitarianism was mainly the province of practical reformers. The publication of Henry Sidgwick's The Methods of Ethics in 1874 can be viewed as the date utilitarianism began to be more commonly associated with academic philosophy.

Utilitarianism has been used as an argument for many different political views. In his essay On Liberty, as well as in other works, John Stuart Mill argues that utilitarianism requires that political arrangements satisfy the "liberty principle" (or harm principle), according to which "the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilised community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others."[4] Prevention of self-harm by other persons was considered expressly forbidden. Instead, Mill states that only persuasion can be rightfully used to prevent self-harm.[citation needed]

Ludwig von Mises advocated libertarianism using utilitarian arguments. Likewise, some Marxist philosophers have used these principles as arguments for political socialism.

[edit] Origins of the word

Mill claims that he "did not invent the word, but found it in one of Galt's novels, the 'Annals of the Parish,' in which the Scottish clergyman, of whom the book is a supposed autobiography, is represented as warning his parishioners not to leave the Gospel and become utilitarians. With a boy's fondness for a name and a banner I seized upon the word [....]"[5] Mill subsequently named his society of like-minded thinkers the "Utilitarian Society", which met for three and a half years.

Bentham took the phrase 'the greatest good for. the greatest number' from Joseph Priestley's essay on government, which may have inspired his theory.[citation needed]

[edit] Types

[edit] Act vs. rule

Act utilitarianism states that, when faced with a choice, we must first consider the likely consequences of potential actions and, from that, choose to do what we believe will generate most pleasure. The rule utilitarian, on the other hand, begins by looking at potential rules of action. To determine whether a rule should be followed, he looks at what would happen if it were constantly followed. If adherence to the rule produces more happiness than otherwise, it is a rule that morally must be followed at all times. The distinction between act and rule utilitarianism is therefore based on a difference about the proper object of consequentialist calculation — specific to a case or generalised to rules.

Rule utilitarianism has been criticised for advocating general rules that will in some specific circumstances clearly decrease happiness if followed. Never to kill another human being may seem to be a good rule, but it could make self-defence against malevolent aggressors very difficult. Rule utilitarians add, however, that there are general exception rules that allow the breaking of other rules if such rule-breaking increases happiness, one example being self-defence. Critics argue that this reduces rule utilitarianism to act utilitarianism and makes rules meaningless. Rule utilitarians retort that rules in the legal system (i.e. laws) that regulate such situations are not meaningless. Self-defence is legally justified, while murder is not.

Rule utilitarianism should not be confused with heuristics (rules of thumb), but many act utilitarians agree that it makes sense to formulate certain rules of thumb to follow if they find themselves in a situation whose consequences are difficult, costly or time-consuming to calculate exactly. If the consequences can be calculated relatively clearly and without much doubt, however, the rules of thumb can be ignored.

[edit] Collapse of rule utilitarianism into act utilitarianism

It has been argued[6] that rule utilitarianism collapses into act utilitarianism, because for any given rule, in the case where breaking the rule produces more utility, the rule can be sophisticated by the addition of a sub-rule that handles cases like the exception. This process holds for all cases of exceptions, and so the 'rules' will have as many 'sub-rules' as there are exceptional cases, which, in the end, makes an agent seek out whatever outcome produces the maximum utility.[7]

[edit] Motive

Motive utilitarianism, first developed by Robert Adams (Journal of Philosophy, 1976), can be viewed either as a hybrid between act and rule or as a unique approach on its own terms. The motive approach attempts to deal realistically with how human beings actually function psychologically. We are indeed passionate, emotional creatures, we do much better with positive goals than with negative prohibitions, we long to be taken seriously, and so on and so forth. Motive utilitarianism proposes that our initial moral task is to inculcate within ourselves and others skills, inclinations, and mental focuses that are likely to be useful across the spectrum of situations we are realistically likely to face, rather than the hypothetical situations seemingly so common in philosophical publications (almost as if there were an unofficial rule against textured situations; motive utilitarianism is somewhat of a response to this). For example, similar to the 80-20 rule in business and entrepreneurship, we might be able to most improve the future prospects of sentient creatures if we do a large number of activities in honest partnerships with others, even imperfectly, instead of a few perfect things privately or sneakily by ourselves.Two examples of motive utilitarianism in practice might be a gay person coming out of the closet and a politician publicly breaking with a war. In both cases, there is likely to be an initial surge of power and confidence, as well as a transitional period in which one is likely to be losing old friends before making new friends, and unpredictably so on both counts. Another example might be a doctor who is a skilled diagnostician. Such a physician is likely to spend most of his or her serious time available for professional growth on current research and better communication, and only occasionally return to first principles. That is, he or she will only occasionally do something of the sort as an interesting study in biochemistry, and then as much as a hobby as anything else.

[edit] Two-level

Two-level utilitarianism states that one should normally use 'intuitive' moral thinking, in the form of rule utilitarianism, because it usually maximizes happiness. However there are some times when we must ascend to a higher 'critical' level of reflection in order to decide what to do, and must think as an act utilitarian would. Richard Hare supported this theory with his concept of the Archangel, which holds that if we were all 'archangels' we could be act utilitarians all the time as we would be able to perfectly predict consequences. However we are closer to 'proles' in that we are frequently biased and unable to foresee all possible consequence of our actions, and thus we require moral guidelines. When these principles clash we must attempt to think like an archangel in order to choose the right course of action.

[edit] Negative

Most utilitarian theories deal with producing the greatest amount of good for the greatest number. Negative utilitarianism (NU) requires us to promote the least amount of evil or harm, or to prevent the greatest amount of suffering for the greatest number. Proponents argue that this is a more effective ethical formula, since, they contend, the greatest harms are more consequential than the greatest goods. The founder of NU referred to an epistemological argument: “It adds to clarity in the fields of ethics, if we formulate our demands negatively, i.e. if we demand the elimination of suffering rather than the promotion of happiness.” (Karl R.Popper, The Open Society and its Enemies, London 1945). In the practical implementation of this idea the following versions can be distinguished:

1. Some advocates of the utilitarian principle were quick to suggest that the ultimate aim of NU would be to engender the quickest and least painful method of killing the entirety of humanity, as this ultimately would effectively minimize suffering. NU would seem to call for the destruction of the world even if only to avoid the pain of a pinprick [1].

2. Newer, moderate versions of NU do not attempt to minimize all kinds of suffering but only those kinds that are created by the frustration of preferences[2]. In most supporters of moderate NU the preference to survive is stronger than the wish to be freed from suffering, so that they refuse the idea of a quick and painless destruction of life. Some of them believe that, in time, the worst cases of suffering will be defeated and a world of minor suffering can be realized. The principal agents of this direction can be found in the environment of transhumanism [3].

Supporters of moderate NU who do not believe in the promises of transhumanism would prefer a reduction of the population (and in the extreme case an empty world). This seems to come down to the position of radical NU, but in moderate NU the world could only be sacrificed to prevent extreme suffering and not to avoid the pain of a pinprick. And from the claim that an empty world would be a preferable state of affairs, it does not follow that a political movement should be formed with the aim of achieving such a state of affairs. The latter would definitely (and in analogy to radical NU) be counterproductive. Pessimistic supporters of moderate NU therefore tend towards a retreat oriented way of living.

3. Finally there are theoreticians who see NU as a branch within classical utilitarianism, rather than an independent theory. This interpretation overlooks Derek Parfit's “Repugnant Conclusion[4]. NU is precisely characterized by overcoming this theoretical weakness of classical utilitarianism.

[edit] Average vs. total

Total utilitarianism advocates measuring the utility of a population based on the total utility of its members. This type of utilitarianism falls victim to the Repugnant Conclusion, whereby large numbers of people with very low but non-negative utility values can be seen as a better goal than a population of a less extreme size living in comfort. In other words, according to the theory, it is a moral good to breed more people on the world for as long as total happiness rises: a state, dubbed by Derek Parfit as the repugnant conclusion, in which there is an enormous population of members whose individual lives are barely worth living.[citation needed]

Average utilitarianism, on the other hand, advocates measuring the utility of a population based on the average utility of that population. It avoids Parfit's repugnant conclusion, but causes other problems like the Mere Addition Paradox. For example, bringing a moderately happy person in a very happy world would be seen as an immoral act; aside from this, the theory implies that it would be a moral good to eliminate all people whose happiness is below average, as this would raise the average happiness.[8].

[edit] Other species

Peter Singer, along with many animal rights activists, has argued that the well-being of all sentient beings (conscious ones who feel pain, including some non-humans[9]) deserves equal consideration to that given human beings; otherwise, it would be a case of speciesism. In fact, Singer considers that an intelligent ape may be given more consideration than a baby, since it is better at planning for its future (or "expectation utility").[citation needed] Bentham made a similar argument. Even those utilitarians arguing to the contrary have noted that suffering in animals often causes humans to suffer, often making it immoral to harm an animal, even if the animal itself is not given a moral status.

This view may be contrasted with deep ecology, which holds that an intrinsic value is attached to all forms of life and nature. According to utilitarianism, most forms of life are unable to experience anything akin to pleasure or discomfort, and are therefore denied moral status. Thus, the moral value of organisms that do not experience pleasure or discomfort, or natural entities like a river, is only in the benefit they provide to sentient beings. Similarly, utilitarianism places no intrinsic value on biodiversity.

[edit] Combinations with other ethical schools

In order to overcome the perceived shortcomings of both systems, several attempts have been made to reconcile utilitarianism with Kant's categorical imperative. James Cornman proposes that, in any given situation, we should treat as "means" as few people as possible and as "ends" as many as are consistent with those "means". He refers to this as the "Utilitarian Kantian Principle".

Other consequentialists may consider happiness an important consequence but argue in addition that consequences such as justice or equality should also be valued, regardless of whether or not they increase happiness.

[edit] Biological explanation

It has been suggested that sociobiology, the study of the evolution of human society, provides support for the utilitarian point of view. For example, in The Expanding Circle: Ethics and Sociobiology, the utilitarian philosopher Peter Singer argues that fundamentally utilitarian ethical reasoning has existed from the time primitive foraging bands had to cooperate, compromise, and make group decisions to survive. He elaborates: "In a dispute between members of a cohesive group of reasoning beings, the demand for a reason is a demand for a justification that can be accepted by the group as a whole." Thus, consideration of others' interests has long been a necessary part of the human experience. Singer believes that reason now compels the equal consideration of all people's interests:

"If I have seen that from an ethical point of view I am just one person among the many in my society, and my interests are no more important, from the point of view of the whole, than the similar interests of others within my society, I am ready to see that, from a still larger point of view, my society is just one among other societies, and the interests of members of my society are no more important, from that larger perspective, than the similar interests of members of other societies… Taking the impartial element in ethical reasoning to its logical conclusion means, first, accepting that we ought to have equal concern for all human beings."

This conclusion – that everybody's interests should be considered equally when making decisions – is a core tenet of utilitarianism.

Singer elaborates that viewing oneself as equal to others in one's society and at the same time viewing one's society as fundamentally superior to other societies may cause an uncomfortable cognitive dissonance. This is the sense in which he means that reason may push people to accept a broader utilitarian stance. Critics (e.g., Binmore 2005) point out that this cognitive dissonance is apparently not very strong, since people often knowingly ignore the interests of faraway societies quite similar to their own. They also note that the "ought" of the quoted paragraph applies only to someone who has already accepted the premise that all societies are equally important. Singer has responded that his argument in Expanding the Circle wasn't intended to provide a complete philosophical justification for a utilitarian categorical imperative, but merely to provide a plausible explanation for how some people come to accept utilitarianism.

[edit] Criticism and defence

[edit] Aggregating utility

John Rawls gives a critique of Utilitarianism in A Theory Of Justice that rejects the idea that the happiness of two distinct persons could be meaningfully counted together. He argues that this entails treating a group of many as if it were a single sentient entity, mistakenly ignoring the separation of consciousness. [10] Animal Rights advocate Richard Ryder calls this the 'boundary of the individual', through which neither pain nor pleasure may pass. [11] Thus the aggregation of utility becomes futile as both pain and happiness are intrinsic to and inseparable from the consciousness in which they are felt, rendering impossible the task of adding up the various pleasures of multiple individuals.

[edit] Predicting consequences

Daniel Dennett uses the example of the Three Mile Island accident as another example of the difficulty in calculating happiness.[12] Was the near-meltdown that occurred at this nuclear power plant a good or a bad thing (according to utilitarianism)? He points out that its long-term effects on nuclear policy would be considered beneficial by many and might outweigh the negative consequences. His conclusion is that it is still too early, 29 years after the event, for utilitarianism to weigh all the evidence and reach a definite conclusion. Utilitarians note that utilitarianism seems to be the unspoken principle used by both advocates and critics of nuclear power.[citation needed] That something cannot be determined at the moment is common in science and frequently resolved with later advancements.

Utilitarians, however, are not required to have perfect knowledge; indeed, certain knowledge of consequences is impossible because consequences are in the unexperienced future. Utilitarians simply try their best to maximise happiness (or other forms of utility) and, to do this, make their best estimates of the consequences. If the consequences of a decision are particularly unclear, it may make sense to follow an ethical rule which has promoted the most utility in the past. Utilitarians also note that people trying to further their own interests frequently run into situations in which the consequences of their decisions are very unclear. This does not mean, however, that they are unable to make a decision; much the same applies to utilitarianism.

Anthony Kenny argues against utilitarianism on the grounds that determinism is either true or false: if it is true, we have no choice over our actions; if it is false, the consequences of our actions are unpredictable, not least because they depend upon the actions of others whom we cannot predict.[13]

[edit] Importance of intentions

Utilitarianism has been criticised for looking only at the results of actions, not at the desires or intentions that motivate them, which many consider important, too. An action intended to cause harm but which inadvertently causes good would be judged equal to the good result of an action done with the best intentions. Many utilitarians argue that utilitarianism applies not only to results but also to desires and dispositions, praise and blame, and rules, institutions and punishment. Bad intentions may cause harm (to the agent and to others) even if they do not result in bad acts. Once this is recognised, supporters argue that utilitarianism becomes a much more complex, and rich, moral theory, and may align far more closely with our moral intuitions.

Furthermore, many utilitarians view morality as a personal guide rather than a means to judge the actions of other people, or actions which have already been performed: morality is something to be looked at when deciding what to do. In this sense, intentions are all that matter, because the consequences cannot be known with certainty until the decision has been made.

One philosopher to take this view is Henry Sidgwick, in his main work The Methods of Ethics (1874).

[edit] Human rights

Utilitarians argue that justification of slavery, torture or mass murder would require unrealistically large benefits to outweigh the direct and extreme suffering to victims. Utilitarianism would also require the indirect impact of social acceptance of inhumane policies to be taken into consideration, and general anxiety and fear could increase for all if human rights are commonly ignored.

Act and rule utilitarians differ in how they treat human rights themselves. Under rule utilitarianism, a human right can easily be considered a moral rule. Act utilitarians, on the other hand, do not accept human rights as moral principles in and of themselves, but that does not mean that they reject them altogether: first, most act utilitarians, as explained above, would agree that acts such as enslavement and genocide always cause great unhappiness and very little happiness; second, human rights could be considered rules of thumb so that, although torture might be acceptable under some circumstances, as a rule it is immoral; and, finally, act utilitarians often support human rights in a legal sense because utilitarians support laws that cause more good than harm.

[edit] Individual interests vs. a greater sum of lesser interests

Another criticism of utilitarianism is that it is not proven, either by science or by logic, to be the correct ethical system. Supporters claim that this is common to all ethical schools, and indeed the system of logic itself, and will always remain so unless the problem of the regress argument, or at least the is-ought problem, is satisfactorily resolved. Indeed, utilitarians are among the first to recognize this problem.[citation needed] It might instead be argued that almost all political arguments about a future society use an unspoken utilitarian principle, all sides claiming that their proposed solution is the one that increases human happiness the most. Some degree of utilitarianism may very well be genetically hard-coded into humans.[citation needed]

Mill's argument for utilitarianism holds that pleasure is the only thing desired and that, therefore, pleasure is the only thing desirable. Critics argue that this is like saying that things visible are things seen, or that the only things audible are things heard. A thing is "visible" if it can be seen and "desirable" if it ought to be desired. Thus the word "desirable" presupposes an ethical theory: we cannot infer what is desirable from what is desired. This criticism, however, reads the word "desirable" as "able to be desired" rather than "worth being desired", and does not take into account the moral assessment that must take place in order to categorise something as "desirable", which does not occur when categorising the same thing as "visible" or "audible".

[edit] Case for morality

Critics have also asked why one should follow utilitarianism instead of ethical egoism. The legal system might punish behaviour that harms others, but this incentive is not active in a situation where one can personally gain by breaking it without punishment. One egoist, however, may propose means to maximise self-interest that conflict with the means proposed by another egoist. As a result, it behooves them to compromise with one another in order to avoid conflict, out of self-interest. The means proposed may incidentally coincide with those prescribed by utilitarianism, but the foundational ethical imperative would not, of course, be utilitarian. Another reason for an egoist to become a utilitarian was proposed by Peter Singer in Practical Ethics. He presents the paradox of hedonism, which holds that, if your only goal in life is personal happiness, you will never be happy: you need something to be happy about. One goal that Singer feels is likely to bring about personal happiness is the desire to improve the lives of others; that is, to make others happy. This argument is similar to the one for virtue ethics.

[edit] Karl Marx's arguments

Karl Marx, in Das Kapital, writes:

Not even excepting our philosopher, Christian Wolff, in no time and in no country has the most homespun commonplace ever strutted about in so self-satisfied a way. The principle of utility was no discovery of Bentham. He simply reproduced in his dull way what Helvétius and other Frenchmen had said with esprit in the 18th century. To know what is useful for a dog, one must study dog-nature. This nature itself is not to be deduced from the principle of utility. Applying this to man, he that would criticise all human acts, movements, relations, etc., by the principle of utility, must first deal with human nature in general, and then with human nature as modified in each historical epoch. Bentham makes short work of it. With the driest naiveté he takes the modern shopkeeper, especially the English shopkeeper, as the normal man. Whatever is useful to this queer normal man, and to his world, is absolutely useful. This yard-measure, then, he applies to past, present, and future. The Christian religion, e.g., is "useful," "because it forbids in the name of religion the same faults that the penal code condemns in the name of the law." Artistic criticism is "harmful," because it disturbs worthy people in their enjoyment of Martin Tupper, etc. With such rubbish has the brave fellow, with his motto, "nulla dies sine line!," piled up mountains of books.[14]

Marx's accusation is twofold. In the first place, he says that the theory of utility is true by definition and thus does not really add anything meaningful. For Marx, a productive inquiry would have to investigate what sorts of things are good for people; that is, what our nature (which he believes is alienated under capitalism) really is. Second, he says that Bentham fails to take account of the changing character of people, and hence the changing character of what is good for them. This criticism is especially important for Marx, because he believed that all important statements were contingent upon particular historical conditions. Marx argues that human nature is dynamic, so the concept of a single utility for all humans is one-dimensional and not useful. When he decries Bentham's application of the 'yard measure' of now to 'the past, present and future', he decries the implication that society, and people, have always been, and will always be, as they are now; that is, he criticizes essentialism. As he sees it, this implication is conservatively used to reinforce institutions he regarded as reactionary. Just because in this moment religion has some positive consequences, says Marx, doesn't mean that viewed historically it isn't a regressive institution that should be abolished.

Marx's criticism is more a criticism of Bentham's views (or similar views) of utility, than utilitarianism itself. Utilitarians would not deny that different things make different people happy, and that what promotes happiness changes over time. Neither would utilitarians deny the importance of investigations into what promotes utility.

Marx's criticism applies to all philosophy which does not take explicit account of the movement of history (against dialectics). While he's right that all things change, and that it is necessary to take account of this when making practical judgements, this doesn't mean that it isn't useful to have a theory which gives some means to evaluate those changes themselves.

Also, utilitarianism was originally developed as a challenge to the status quo. The demand that everyone count for one, and one only, was anathema to the elitist society of Victorian Britain.[citation needed]

[edit] The Wittgensteinian Critique

Contemporary philosophers such as Cora Diamond and Matthew Ostrow have critiqued utilitarianism from a distinctly Wittgensteinian perspective. According to these philosophers, utilitarians have expanded the very meaning of pleasure to the point of linguistic incoherence. The utilitarian groundlessly places pleasure as his or her first principle, and in doing so subordinates the value of asceticism, self-sacrifice or any other "secondary" desire. Of course, the utilitarian will deny this contention altogether, claiming that ascetics also seek pleasure, but have merely chosen an alternative path in which to achieve it. Yet such an argument is implicitly tautological ("What is it that people want? Pleasure. But what is pleasure? What people want."). The utilitarian therefore has no ultimate justification for primarily valuing pleasure, other than to say that "this is the way it should be." In this critique, utilitarianism is thus ultimately reduced to a form of dishonest ethical intuitionism, unable to recognize or acknowledge its own groundlessness. Or in the words of Wittgenstein, utilitarianism is blind to its "own metaphysical impulse" (a trap which Deontology also undoubtedly falls victim to).[citation needed]

[edit] Criticism of other schools

One utilitarian criticism of other schools is that many of them cannot even in theory solve real-world ethical problems when various inviolable principles collide, like triage or the rightness or otherwise of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

A criticism of Kantianism is levelled by R. M. Hare in Could Kant Have Been a Utilitarian? Hare argues that a number of different ethical positions could fit with Kant's description of his Categorical Imperative. Although Kant did not agree with this assessment, utilitarianism could be among them.

[edit] See also

This entry is related to, but not included in the Political ideologies series or one of its sub-series. Other related articles can be found at the Politics Portal.

[edit] Notes

  1. ^ See the mere addition paradox.
  2. ^ Rosen, Frederick (2003). Classical Utilitarianism from Hume to Mill. Routledge, p. 28. ISBN 0415220947 "It was Hume and Bentham who then reasserted most strongly the Epicurean doctrine concerning utility as the basis of justice."
  3. ^ Mill, John Stuart. 'On Liberty', ed. Himmelfarb. Penguin Classics, 1974, Ed.'s introduction, p.11.
  4. ^ Mill, John Stuart. 'On Liberty', ed. Himmelfarb. Penguin Classics, 1974, 'Introductory' of main text, p. 68.
  5. ^ Borchard, Ruth (1957), John Stuart Mill, The Man. London: Watts.
  6. ^ David Lyons, Forms and Limits of Utilitarianism, 1965.
  7. ^ Allen Habib (2008), "Promises", in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
  8. ^ Shaw, William H. Contemporary Ethics: taking account of utilitarianism. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers Inc., 1999. pp. 31-35
  9. ^ Exactly which (if any) non-humans share the property of consciousness (the "distribution question") is by no means clear: see animal consciousness.
  10. ^ Rawls, John A Theory Of Justice. Harvard Univerity Press, 1971. pp. 22-27
  11. ^ Ryder, Richard D. Painism: A Modern Morality. Centaur Press, 2001. pp. 27-29
  12. ^ Dennett, Daniel (1995), Darwin's Dangerous Idea, Simon & Schuster, ISBN 0-684-82471-X.
  13. ^ Anthony Kenny What I Believe p75–80
  14. ^ Economic Manuscripts: Capital Vol. I - Chapter Twenty-Four

[edit] References and further reading

  • Cornman, James, et al. Philosophical Problems and Arguments - An Introduction, 4th edition Indianapolis, IN: Hackett Publishing Co., 1992.
  • Harwood, Sterling, "Eleven Objections to Utilitarianism," in Louis P. Pojman, ed., Moral Philosophy: A Reader, Indianapolis, IN: Hackett Publishing Co., 2003), and in Sterling Harwood, ed., Business as Ethical and Business as Usual, Wadsworth Publishing Co., 1996, Chapter 7.
  • Lyons, David, "Forms and Limits of Utilitarianism". Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1965.
  • Martin, Michael, "A Utilitarian Kantian Principle," Philosophical Studies, (with H. Ruf), 21, 1970, pp. 90–91.
  • Rosen, Frederick (2003). Classical Utilitarianism from Hume to Mill. Routledge, p. 28. ISBN 0415220947
  • Silverstein, Harry S. A Defence of Cornman’s Utilitarian Kantian Principle, Philosophical Studies (Dordrecht u.a.) 23, 212–215. 1972
  • Singer, Peter. The Expanding Circle: Ethics and Sociobiology, New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1981. [ISBN 0-374-15112-1]
  • Singer, Peter. Practical Ethics, 2nd edition, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993. [ISBN 0-521-43971-X]
  • Sumner, L. Wayne, Abortion: A Third Way, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

[edit] External links

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