Liberal utilitarianism – yes, but for whom?

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The aim of this commentary is to critically examine Matti Häyry’s article ‘Just Better Utilitarianism’, where he argues that liberal utilitarianism can offer a basis for moral and political choices in bioethics and thus could be helpful in decision-making. This commentary, while generally sympathetic to Häyry’s perspective, argues that Häyry should expand on who belongs to our moral community because, to solve practical ethical issues, we need to determine who (and what) deserves our moral consideration. Challenging Häyry’s principle of actual or prospective existence, this commentary suggests that – at least sometimes – the quality of life of those who will never come into existence matters. In a similar vein, this commentary aims to show that determining how to treat mindless humans such as fetuses might pose difficulties for liberal utilitarianism unless the issue of the boundaries of the moral community is addressed.
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First archival date: 2020-10-11
Latest version: 4 (2021-03-26)
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