Classical utilitarianism - Pomona College

If utilitarians want their theory to allow more moral knowledge,they can make a different kind of move by turning from actualconsequences to expected or expectable consequences. Suppose that Alicefinds a runaway teenager who asks for money to get home. Alice wants tohelp and reasonably believes that buying a bus ticket home for thisrunaway will help, so she buys a bus ticket and puts the runaway on thebus. Unfortunately, the bus is involved in a freak accident, and therunaway is killed. If actual consequences are what determine moralwrongness, then it was morally wrong for Alice to buy the bus ticketfor this runaway. Opponents claim that this result is absurd enough torefute classic utilitarianism.


Welcome to the Classical Utilitarianism Web Site! This web siteis meant to combine selections from the writings of the classicalutilitarians---principally Jeremy Bentham, John Stuart Mill, and HenrySidgwick---with commentary thereupon, into what its authors intendwill be a scholarly hypertext useful both to the student and theresearcher.

PHILOSOPHY 33 Classical utilitarianism

Classical Utilitarianism Utilitarianism is a secular alternative to Divine Command theory Utilitarianism comes in several forms. Bentham's classic utilitarianism is closely linked to act utilitarianism. This version is essentially the form that uses Bentham's principle of utility and focuses on the rightness of wrongness of an act in terms of how much good is caused. An act utilitarian would use the principle of utility and the hedonic calculus in every moral situation in order to produce pleasure and minimise pain for the majority. Any action is deemed morally right and good if it creates the greatest happiness - this means laws can be broken and socially unacceptable behaviour can be justified.

Lecture 2 Notes: Classical Utilitarianism

The Classical Utilitarians, Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill, identified the good with pleasure, so, like Epicurus, were hedonists about value. They also held that we ought to maximize the good, that is, bring about ‘the greatest amount of good for the greatest number’.

Utilitarianism is also distinguished by impartiality and agent-neutrality. Everyone's happiness counts the same. When one maximizes the good, it is the good impartially considered. My good counts for no more than anyone else's good.

The classic utilitarianism and the ethical economics - SSRN

Utilitarianism is a secular alternative to Divine Command theory. It was developedby the English philosophers Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill. According to classical utilitarianism, the sole moral obligation is toIf you are a hedonist, the mostimportant question is: "Whose pleasure counts the most?" Classicalutilitarians are altruists to the extent that they believe that the standard ofright or wrong is not the agent's own greatest happiness, but the greatestamount of happiness for the greatest number of people. Therefore, the"Good" increases the number of persons experiencing pleasure amongmembers of a specific group. The "Bad" increases the number ofpersons experiencing pain. There are several interesting problems here.