Single Idea 6218

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

Full Idea

The happiness of each person cannot be separated from the happiness of all, because the whole is no different from the parts taken together.

Gist of Idea

The happiness of individuals is linked to the happiness of everyone (which is individuals taken together)


Richard Cumberland (De Legibus Naturae [1672], Ch.I.VI)

Book Reference

'British Moralists 1650-1800 Vol. 1', ed/tr. Raphael,D.D. [Hackett 1991], p.86

A Reaction

Sounds suspiciously like the fallacy of composition (Idea 6219). An objection to utilitarianism is its assumption that a group of people have a 'total happiness' that is different from their individual states. Still, Cumberland is on to utilitarianism.

Related Idea

Idea 6219 The fallacy of composition is the assumption that what is true of the parts is true of the whole [Mautner]