Single Idea 18623

[catalogued under 24. Political Theory / D. Ideologies / 4. Social Utilitarianism]

Full Idea

The existence of past entitlements on the part of particular people partially pre-empts, or constrains, the utilitarian quest to maximise the general good.

Gist of Idea

The quest of the general good is partly undermined by people's past entitlements


Will Kymlicka (Contemporary Political Philosophy (1st edn) [1990], 2.3.a)

Book Reference

Kymlicka,Will: 'Contemporary Political Philosophy (1st edn)' [OUP 1992], p.22

A Reaction

In other words, there is never a clean slate in politics (except in some hideously violent revolution). You might be able to justify to someone a withdrawal of their past entitlements. E.g. confiscating a stolen painting that was bought in ignorance.