Measuring Impartial Beneficence: A Kantian Perspective on the Oxford Utilitarianism Scale

Review of Philosophy and Psychology:1-16 (forthcoming)
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Abstract

To capture genuine utilitarian tendencies, developed the Oxford Utilitarianism Scale based on two subscales, which measure the commitment to impartial beneficence and the willingness to cause harm for the greater good. In this article, I argue that the impartial beneficence subscale, which breaks ground with previous research on utilitarian moral psychology, does not distinctively measure utilitarian moral judgment. I argue that Kantian ethics captures the all-encompassing impartial concern for the well-being of all human beings. The Oxford Utilitarianism Scale draws, in fact, a point of division that places Kantian and utilitarian theories on the same track. I suggest that the impartial beneficence subscale needs to be significantly revised in order to capture distinctively utilitarian judgments. Additionally, I propose that psychological research should focus on exploring multiple sources of the phenomenon of impartial beneficence without categorizing it as exclusively utilitarian.

Author's Profile

Emilian Mihailov
University of Bucharest

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