Single Idea 18627

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

Full Idea

The second main argument for utilitarianism defines the right in terms of maximising the good, which leads to the utilitarian aggregation standard, which as a mere consequence treats people's interests equally.

Gist of Idea

A second view says start with maximising the good, implying aggregation, and hence equality


Will Kymlicka (Contemporary Political Philosophy (1st edn) [1990], 2.4.b)

Book Reference

Kymlicka,Will: 'Contemporary Political Philosophy (1st edn)' [OUP 1992], p.33

A Reaction

This takes maximum good as a primitive, and arrives at equality as the way to achieve it. So which is more morally fundamental, a maximum of goodness, or human equality? Kymlicka says this idea is too impersonal.

Related Idea

Idea 18626 One view says start with equality, and infer equal weight to interests, and hence maximum utility [Kymlicka]