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  1. Average Utilitarianism Implies Solipsistic Egoism.Christian Tarsney -
    Average utilitarianism and several related axiologies, when paired with the standard expectational theory of decision-making under risk and with reasonable empirical credences, can find their practical prescriptions overwhelmingly determined by the minuscule probability that the agent assigns to solipsism -- i.e., to the hypothesis that there is only one welfare subject in the world, viz., herself. This either (i) constitutes a reductio of these axiologies, (ii) suggests that they require bespoke decision theories, or (iii) furnishes a novel argument for ethical (...)
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  2. Non-Additive Axiologies in Large Worlds.Christian Tarsney & Teruji Thomas - manuscript
    Is the overall value of a world just the sum of values contributed by each value-bearing entity in that world? Additively separable axiologies (like total utilitarianism, prioritarianism, and critical level views) say 'yes', but non-additive axiologies (like average utilitarianism, rank-discounted utilitarianism, and variable value views) say 'no'. This distinction is practically important: additive axiologies support 'arguments from astronomical scale' which suggest (among other things) that it is overwhelmingly important for humanity to avoid premature extinction and ensure the existence of a (...)
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  3. The Discourse of Universalism, Moral Relativism & Utilitarianism.Irfan Ajvazi - 2022 - Idea Books.
    The Discourse of Universalism , Moral Relativism & Utilitarianism Table of Contents: Chapter 1. Moral relativism: history and theory of moral relativism: Ancient Greece and Early Modern Era Chapter 2. Universalism and Relativism Chapter 3. Hume's Universalism Chapter 4. Plato's Universalism Chapter 5. Problems with Rawls Theory Chapter 6. Aristotle's Relativism Chapter 7. Is Aristotle an ethical relativist? Chapter 8. John Stuart Mill's Utilitarianism Chapter 9. Mill and Principle of Utility Chapter 10. Kant and Moral Theory The historian Herodotus gives (...)
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  4. Utilitarianism, Altruism, and Consent.Meacham Christopher - 2022 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 21 (1).
    A number of criticisms of Utilitarianism – such as “nearest and dearest” objections, “demandingness” objections, and “altruistic” objections – arise because Utilitarianism doesn’t permit partially or wholly disregarding the utility of certain subjects. A number of authors, including Sider, Portmore and Vessel, have responded to these objections by suggesting we adopt “dual-maximizing” theories which provide a way to incorporate disregarding. And in response to “altruistic” objections in particular – objections noting that it seems permissible to make utility- decreasing sacrifices – (...)
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  5. Bentham’s Mugging.Johan E. Gustafsson - 2022 - Utilitas 34 (4):386-391.
    A dialogue, in three parts, on utilitarian vulnerability to exploitation.
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  6. Norcross, Alastair. Morality by Degrees: Reasons Without Demands. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2020. Pp. 176. $50.00 (Cloth). [REVIEW]Richard Yetter Chappell - 2021 - Ethics 131 (3):620-624.
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  7. Utilitarianism Without Moral Aggregation.Johan E. Gustafsson - 2021 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 51 (4):256-269.
    Is an outcome where many people are saved and one person dies better than an outcome where the one is saved and the many die? According to the standard utilitarian justification, the former is better because it has a greater sum total of well-being. This justification involves a controversial form of moral aggregation, because it is based on a comparison between aggregates of different people's well-being. Still, an alternative justification—the Argument for Best Outcomes—does not involve moral aggregation. I extend the (...)
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  8. Utility, Progress, and Technology: Proceedings of the 15th Conference of the International Society for Utilitarian Studies.Michael Schefczyk & Christoph Schmidt-Petri (eds.) - 2021 - Karlsruhe: KIT Scientific Publishing.
    This volume collects selected papers delivered at the 15th Conference of the International Society for Utilitarian Studies, which was held at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in July 2018. It includes papers dealing with the past, present, and future of utilitarianism – the theory that human happiness is the fundamental moral value – as well as on its applications to animal ethics, population ethics, and the future of humanity, among other topics.
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  9. Additively-Separable and Rank-Discounted Variable-Population Social Welfare Functions: A Characterization.Dean Spears & H. Orri Stefansson - 2021 - Economic Letters 203:1-3.
    Economic policy evaluations require social welfare functions for variable-size populations. Two important candidates are critical-level generalized utilitarianism (CLGU) and rank-discounted critical-level generalized utilitarianism, which was recently characterized by Asheim and Zuber (2014) (AZ). AZ introduce a novel axiom, existence of egalitarian equivalence (EEE). First, we show that, under some uncontroversial criteria for a plausible social welfare relation, EEE suffices to rule out the Repugnant Conclusion of population ethics (without AZ’s other novel axioms). Second, we provide a new characterization of CLGU: (...)
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  10. Valuing Humane Lives in Two-Level Utilitarianism.Nicolas Delon - 2020 - Utilitas 32 (3):276-293.
    I examine the two-level utilitarian case for humane animal agriculture (by R. M. Hare and Gary Varner) and argue that it fails on its own terms. The case states that, at the ‘intuitive level’ of moral thinking, we can justify raising and killing animals for food, regarding them as replaceable, while treating them with respect. I show that two-level utilitarianism supports, instead, alternatives to animal agriculture. First, the case for humane animal agriculture does not follow from a commitment to two-level (...)
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  11. The World Destruction Argument.Simon Knutsson - 2019 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy (10).
    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 (...)
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  12. Late Utilitarian Moral Theory and Its Development: Sidgwick, Moore.Anthony Skelton - 2019 - In J. A. Shand (ed.), A Companion to Nineteenth-Century Philosophy (Blackwell Companions to Philosophy). Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell. pp. 281-310.
    Henry Sidgwick taught G.E. Moore as an undergraduate at the University of Cambridge. Moore found Sidgwick’s personality less than attractive and his lectures “rather dull”. Still, philosophically speaking, Moore absorbed a great deal from Sidgwick. In the Preface to the Trinity College Prize Fellowship dissertation that he submitted in 1898, just two years after graduation, he wrote “For my ethical views it will be obvious how much I owe to Prof. Sidgwick.” Later, in Principia Ethica, Moore credited Sidgwick with having (...)
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  13. The Priority View.David McCarthy - 2017 - Economics and Philosophy 33 (2):215–57.
    According to the priority view, or prioritarianism, it matters more to benefit people the worse off they are. But how exactly should the priority view be defined? This article argues for a highly general characterization which essentially involves risk, but makes no use of evaluative measurements or the expected utility axioms. A representation theorem is provided, and when further assumptions are added, common accounts of the priority view are recovered. A defense of the key idea behind the priority view, the (...)
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  14. Social Morality in Mill.Piers Norris Turner - 2017 - In Gerald Gaus & Piers Turner (eds.), Public Reason in Political Philosophy: Classic Sources and Contemporary Commentaries. New York, USA: Routledge. pp. 375-400.
    A leading classical utilitarian, John Stuart Mill is an unlikely contributor to the public reason tradition in political philosophy. To hold that social rules or political institutions are justified by their contribution to overall happiness is to deny that they are justified by their being the object of consensus or convergence among all those holding qualified moral or political viewpoints. In this chapter, I explore the surprising ways in which Mill nevertheless works to accommodate the problems and insights of the (...)
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  15. Consequentialism with Wrongness Depending on the Difficulty of Doing Better.Johan E. Gustafsson - 2016 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 5 (2):108-118.
    Moral wrongness comes in degrees. On a consequentialist view of ethics, the wrongness of an act should depend, I argue, in part on how much worse the act's consequences are compared with those of its alternatives and in part on how difficult it is to perform the alternatives with better consequences. I extend act consequentialism to take this into account, and I defend three conditions on consequentialist theories. The first is consequentialist dominance, which says that, if an act has better (...)
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  16. Utilitarian Moral Virtue, Admiration, and Luck.Robert J. Hartman - 2015 - Philosophia 43 (1):77-95.
    Every tenable ethical theory must have an account of moral virtue and vice. Julia Driver has performed a great service for utilitarians by developing a utilitarian account of moral virtue that complements a broader act-based utilitarian ethical theory. In her view, a moral virtue is a psychological disposition that systematically produces good states of affairs in a particular possible world. My goal is to construct a more plausible version of Driver’s account that nevertheless maintains its basic integrity. I aim to (...)
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  17. Utilitarianism.Nikil Mukerji - 2013 - In Christoph Lütge (ed.), Handbook of the Philosophical Foundations of Business Ethics. Springer. pp. 297-313.
    This chapter offers a concise discussion of classic utilitarianism which is the prototypical moral doctrine of the utilitarian family. It starts with an analysis of the classic utilitarian criterion of rightness, gives an overview over its virtues and vices, and suggests an overall assessment of its adequacy as a theory of morality. Furthermore, it briefly discusses whether classic utilitarianism holds promise as a philosophy for doing business.
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  18. Ideal Utilitarianism.Anthony Skelton - 2013 - In James Crimmins (ed.), Bloomsbury Encyclopedia of Utilitarianism. Bloomsbury Academic.
    An opinionated encyclopedia entry on ideal utilitarianism in which various arguments for the view are discussed and evaluated.
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  19. Utilitarian Practical Ethics: Sidgwick and Singer.Anthony Skelton - 2011 - In Placido Bucolo, Roger Crisp & Bart Schultz (eds.), Henry Sidgwick: Ethics, Psychics, and Politics. Catania: University of Catania Press.
    It is often argued that Henry Sidgwick is a conservative about moral matters, while Peter Singer is a radical. Both are exponents of a utilitarian account of morality but they use it to very different effect. I think this way of viewing the two is mistaken or, at the very least, overstated. Sidgwick is less conservative than has been suggested and Singer is less radical than he initially seems. To illustrate my point, I will rely on what each has to (...)
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  20. Ideal Utilitarianism: Rashdall and Moore.Anthony Skelton - 2011 - In Thomas Hurka (ed.), Underivative Duty: British Moral Philosophers From Sidgwick to Ewing. Oxford University Press. pp. 45-65.
    Ideal utilitarianism states that the only fundamental requirement of morality is to promote a plurality of intrinsic goods. This paper critically evaluates Hastings Rashdall’s arguments for ideal utilitarianism, while comparing them with G. E. Moore’s arguments. Section I outlines Rashdall’s ethical outlook. Section II considers two different arguments that he provides for its theory of rightness. Section III discusses his defence of a pluralist theory of value. Section IV argues that Rashdall makes a lasting contribution to the defence of ideal (...)
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  21. On Knaves and Rules. (An Approach to the 'Sensible Knave' Problem From a Tempered Rule Utilitarianism).José L. Tasset - 2011 - Daimon: Revista Internacional de Filosofía 52:117-140.
    In the attempt of defending an interpretation of David Hume's moral and political philosophy connected to classical utilitarianism, intervenes in a key way the so called problem of the " Sensitive Knave " raised by this author at the end of his more utilitarian work, the Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals. According to the classic interpretation of this fragment, the utilitarian rationality in politics would clash with morality turning useless the latter. Therefore, in the political area the defense of (...)
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  22. Measuring the Consequences of Rules: Holly M. Smith.Holly M. Smith - 2010 - Utilitas 22 (4):413-433.
    Recently two distinct forms of rule-utilitarianism have been introduced that differ on how to measure the consequences of rules. Brad Hooker advocates fixed-rate rule-utilitarianism, while Michael Ridge advocates variable-rate rule-utilitarianism. I argue that both of these are inferior to a new proposal, optimum-rate rule-utilitarianism. According to optimum-rate rule-utilitarianism, an ideal code is the code whose optimum acceptance level is no lower than that of any alternative code. I then argue that all three forms of rule-utilitarianism fall prey to two fatal (...)
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  23. Utilitarianism and its British Nineteenth-Century Critics.Sergio Volodia Marcello Cremaschi - 2008 - Notizie di Politeia. Rivista di Etica E Scelte Pubbliche 24 (90):31-49.
    I try to reconstruct the hidden agenda of nineteenth-century British controversy between Utilitarianism and Intuitionism, going beyond the image, successfully created by the two Mills, of a battle between Prejudice and Reason. When examined in depth, competing philosophical outlooks turn out to be more research programs than self-contained doctrinal bodies, and such programs appear to be implemented, and indeed radically transformed while in progress thanks to their enemies no less than to their supporters. Controversies, the propelling devices of research programs, (...)
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  24. Sidgwick E Il Progetto di Un’Etica Scientifica.Sergio Cremaschi - 2006 - Etica & Politica / Ethics & Politics 8 (1):1-36.
    In this paper I discuss the role played by the ideas of ‘common sense’ and ‘common sense morality’ in Sidgwick’s system of ideas. I argue that, far from aiming at overcoming common sense morality, Sidgwick aimed purposely at grounding a consist code of morality by methods allegedly taken from the example provided by the natural sciences, in order to reach also in the moral field some body of ‘mature’ knowledge similar to that provided by the natural sciences. His whole polemics (...)
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  25. Mill’s Perfectionism.Piergiorgio Donatelli - 2006 - Prolegomena 5 (2):149-164.
    J. S. Mill lays great emphasis on the importance of the notion of the individual as a progressive being. The idea that we need to conceive the self as an object of cultivation and perfection runs through Mill’s writings on various topics, and has played a certain role in recent interpretations. In this paper I propose a specific interpretation of Mill’s understanding of the self, along the lines of what Stanley Cavell identifies as a “perfectionist” concern for the self. Various (...)
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  26. Utility Theory and Ethics.Mongin Philippe & D'Aspremont Claude - 1998 - In Salvador Barbera, Paul Hammond & Christian Seidl (eds.), Handbook of Utility Theory Volume1: Principles. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers. pp. 371-481.
    This chapter of the Handbook of Utility Theory aims at covering the connections between utility theory and social ethics. The chapter first discusses the philosophical interpretations of utility functions, then explains how social choice theory uses them to represent interpersonal comparisons of welfare in either utilitarian or non-utilitarian representations of social preferences. The chapter also contains an extensive account of John Harsanyi's formal reconstruction of utilitarianism and its developments in the later literature, especially when society faces uncertainty rather than probabilistic (...)
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  27. Decision Procedures, Standards of Rightness and Impartiality.Cynthia A. Stark - 1997 - Noûs 31 (4):478-495.
    I argue that partialist critics of deontological theories make a mistake similar to one made by critics of utilitarianism: they fail to distinguish between a theory’s decision procedure and its standard of rightness. That is, they take these deontological theories to be offering a method for moral deliberation when they are in fact offering justificatory arguments for moral principles. And while deontologists, like utilitarians do incorporate impartiality into their justifications for basic principles, many do not require that agents utilize impartial (...)
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  28. Utilitarismo.Sergio Volodia Marcello Cremaschi - 1996 - In Virgilio Melchiorre (ed.), Enciclopedia della Filosofia e delle Scienze Umane. Novara, Italy: De Agostini. pp. 1046.
    A short presentation of the birth and transformations of utilitarianism.
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  29. The Principle of Utility and Mill's Minimizing Utilitarianism.Rem B. Edwards - 1986 - Journal of Value Inquiry 20 (2):125-136.
    Formulations of Mill's principle of utility are examined, and it is shown that Mill did not recognize a moral obligation to maximize the good, as is often assumed. His was neither a maximizing act nor rule utilitarianism. It was a distinctive minimizing utilitarianism which morally obligates us only to abstain from inflicting harm, to prevent harm, to provide for others minimal essentials of well being (to which rights correspond), and to be occasionally charitable or benevolent.
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