Utilitarianism without Moral Aggregation

Canadian Journal of Philosophy 51 (4):256-269 (2021)
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Abstract

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 Argument for Best Outcomes to show that any utilitarian evaluation can be justified without moral aggregation.

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Johan E. Gustafsson
University of York

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