Single Idea 18624

[catalogued under 23. Ethics / E. Utilitarianism / 1. Utilitarianism]

Full Idea

Utilitarianism is essentially a 'standard of rightness', not a 'decision-procedure'. ...It is an open question whether we should employ a utilitarian decision-procedure - indeed, this question itself is to be answered by examining its consequences.

Gist of Idea

Utilitarianism is not a decision-procedure; choice of the best procedure is an open question


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

Book Reference

Kymlicka,Will: 'Contemporary Political Philosophy (1st edn)' [OUP 1992], p.29

A Reaction

The point is that the aim is to maximise happiness, and you might do that by just maximising baked bean consumption, and not even thinking about happiness. This idea is labelled 'indirect utilitarianism'. Happiness does seem to be a by-product.