Utilitarianism traces the 'doctrine of utility' from the moralists of the ancient world, through the Enlightenment and Victorian utilitarianism up to the lively debate of the present day.
Utilitarianism today faces challenges on several fronts: it cannot warrant the drawing of adequate protective boundaries around the essential interests of individuals, and it does not allow them the space to pursue the personal concerns which give meaning to their lives. Geoffrey Scarre considers these and other charges, and concludes that whilst utilitarianism may not be a faultless moral doctrine, its positions are relevant, and significant today.
Written with undergraduates in mind, this is an ideal course book for those studying and those teaching moral philosophy.
Krister Bykvist provides a survey of the modern debate about utilitarianism and goes on to evaluate utilitarianism in comparison with other theories, in particular virtue ethics and Kantianism. Bykvist offers a critical examination of utilitarianism, distinguishing problems that are unique to utilitarianism from those that are shared by other moral theories. Focusing on the problems unique to utilitarianism, the book provides a well-balanced assessment of where the theory goes astray and is in need of revision. Geared towards the specific requirements of students who need to reach a sound understanding of utilitarianism, this book serves as an ideal companion to study of this influential and challenging of philosophical concepts.
After a brief historical introduction to the problem, Driver examines utilitarianism, and the arguments of its most famous exponents, John Stuart Mill and Jeremy Bentham, and explains the fundamental questions underlying utilitarian theory: what value is to be specified and how it is to be maximized. Driver also discusses indirect forms of consequentialism, the important theories of motive consequentialism and virtue consequentialism, and explains why the distinction between subjective and objective consequentialism is so important.
Including helpful features such as a glossary, chapter summaries, and annotated further reading at the end of each chapter, Consequentialism is ideal for students seeking an authoritative and clearly explained survey of this important problem.
Dale E. Miller argues for a "utopian" reading of Mill's utilitarianism. He analyses Mill's views on happiness and goes on to show the practical, social and political implications that can be drawn from his utilitarianism, especially in relation to the construction of morality, individual freedom, democratic reform, and economic organization. By highlighting the utopian thinking which lies at the heart of Mill's theories, Miller shows that rather than allowing for well-being for the few, Mill believed that a society must do everything in its power to see to it that each individual can enjoy a genuinely happy life if the happiness of its members is to be maximized. Miller provides a cogent and careful account of the main arguments offered by Mill, considers the critical responses to his work, and assesses its legacy for contemporary philosophy.
Lucidly and persuasively written, this book will be a valuable resource for students and scholars seeking to understand the continued importance of Mill's thinking.