Utilitarianism, the approach to ethics based on the maximization of overall well-being, continues to have great traction in moral philosophy and political thought. This Companion offers a systematic exploration of its history, themes, and applications. First, it traces the origins and development of utilitarianism via the work of Jeremy Bentham, John Stuart Mill, Henry Sidgwick, and others. The volume then explores issues in the formulation of utilitarianism, including act versus rule utilitarianism, actual versus expected consequences, and objective versus subjective theories of well-being. Next, utilitarianism is positioned in relation to Kantianism and virtue ethics, and the possibility of conflict between utilitarianism and fairness is considered. Finally, the volume explores the modern relevance of utilitarianism by considering its practical implications for contemporary controversies such as military conflict and global warming. The volume will be an important resource for all those studying moral philosophy, political philosophy, political theory, and history of ideas.
Ben Eggleston is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Kansas. He is co-editor (with Dale E. Miller and David Weinstein) of John Stuart Mill and the Art of Life (2011). Dale E. Miller is Professor of Philosophy at Old Dominion University. He is author of J. S. Mill: Moral, Social and Political Thought (2010), and co-editor of Morality, Rules, and Consequences (with Brad Hooker and Elinor Mason, 2000) and John Stuart Mill and the Art of Life (with Ben Eggleston and David Weinstein, 2011).
Introduction Ben Eggleston and Dale E. Miller; 1. Utilitarianism before Bentham Colin Heydt; 2. Bentham and utilitarianism in the early nineteenth century James E. Crimmins; 3. Mill and utilitarianism in the mid nineteenth century Henry R. West; 4. Sidgwick and utilitarianism in the late nineteenth century Roger Crisp; 5. Utilitarianism in the twentieth century Krister Bykvist; 6. Act utilitarianism Ben Eggleston; 7. Rule utilitarianism Dale E. Miller; 8. Global utilitarianism Julia Driver; 9. Objectivism, subjectivism, and prospectivism Elinor Mason; 10. Subjective theories of well-being Chris Heathwood; 11. Objective theories of well-being Ben Bradley; 12. Kantian ethics and utilitarianism Jens Timmermann; 13. What virtue ethics can learn from utilitarianism Daniel C. Russell; 14. Utilitarianism and fairness Brad Hooker; 15. Utilitarianism and the ethics of war William H. Shaw; 16. Utilitarianism and our obligations to future people Tim Mulgan.
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