Any of a variety of views all of which are consequentialist or teleological, being distinguished from other forms of consequentialism (if any) by saying that the consequence to be pursued is the maximization of good.

This maximization may refer to the greatest total good or the greatest average good, but the slogan ‘greatest good of the greatest number’ is ambiguous. (See Bentham’s theory of utilitarianism.) Utilitarianism is always universalistic, not egoistic or altruistic.

Utilitarianism may be divided into act and rule utilitarianism, into hedonistic, ideal, and preference utilitarianism, and also into ordinary and negative utilitarianism: these divisions cutting across each other. Utilitarians distinguish the lightness of an action, which depends on its actual consequences (or those of the relevant rule, for rule utilitarians), from the moral goodness of the agent, which depends on his motives and intentions.

Objections have usually centred on the practicality of utilitarianism (especially act utilitarianism) in view of our limited predictive powers; and on whether it can cater for our intuition about justice and ‘backward-looking’ obligations like that of promise-keeping.

Our ability to control population numbers also raises issues.

J J C Smart and B Williams, Utilitarianism For and Against (1973)

5 thoughts on “Utilitarianism

  1. Mirta Schnall says:

    Howdy! I know this is somewhat off topic but I was wondering if you knew where I could get a captcha plugin for my comment form? I’m using the same blog platform as yours and I’m having problems finding one? Thanks a lot!

  2. Clyde says:

    It is truly a nice and useful piece of info. I’m glad that you simply shared this useful info
    with us. Please stay us informed like this. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Ina says:

    Great site you have here.. It’s difficult to find quality writing
    like yours nowadays. I honestly appreciate individuals like you!
    Take care!!

  4. Micaela says:

    Hello There. I found your blog the usage of msn.
    That is a really smartly written article. I’ll make sure to
    bookmark it and come back to read extra of your helpful
    info. Thanks for the post. I’ll certainly return.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *