Negative Utilitarianism and Buddhist Intuition

Contemporary Buddhism 15 (2):298-311 (2014)
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Various authors suggested that Buddhism may be a kind of negative utilitarianism. A closer examination of the corresponding intuitions leads to the following result: - Negative utilitarianism, understood as an umbrella term, models the asymmetry between suffering and happiness and therefore accords with the Buddhist intuition of universal compassion. - The Noble Truths of Buddhism accord with the negative utilitarian intuition that (global) suffering cannot be compensated by happiness. - Some forms of Buddhism and negative utilitarianism share the intuition that non-existence is a perfect state.

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