Utilitarianism is the view that the right thing to do is whatever is most useful. It is a philosophical position about ethics. The word "utilitarianism" comes from the word "utility", which means "usefulness". In most forms of utilitarianism, things that increase human well-being or happiness are called useful. This is not limited to the happiness caused by a single action but also includes the happiness of all people involved and all future consequences.
In general, the theory of utilitarianism is that whatever brings the most happiness to the greatest number of people is the right thing to do.
Bentham wrote about this idea with the words "The greatest good for the greatest number," but did not use the word utilitarianism. It was Mill, a follower of Bentham's ideas, who named the idea.
Utilitarianism in Practice change
Many philosophers argue that utilitarianism has important practical implications for how we should live ethically. For instance, according to utilitarianism we should help the poor, prevent animal suffering, and ensure that future generations have good lives.
Related pages change
- "Utilitarianism". American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (5th ed.). Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. 2011.
- "Utility". American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (5th ed.). Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. 2011.
- MacAskill, William (2021). "Acting on Utilitarianism – Utilitarianism.net". Introduction to Utilitarianism: An Online Textbook. Retrieved 2021-05-08.