more from Francis Hutcheson

Single Idea 6245

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

Full Idea

That action is best, which procures the greatest happiness for the greatest number; and that worst, which, in like manner, occasions misery.

Gist of Idea

That action is best, which procures the greatest happiness for the greatest number

Source

Francis Hutcheson (Treatise 2: Virtue or Moral Good [1725], žIII.VIII)

Book Reference

'British Moralists 1650-1800 Vol. 1', ed/tr. Raphael,D.D. [Hackett 1991], p.284


A Reaction

The first use of a phrase taken up by Bentham. This is not just an anticipation of utilitarianism, it is utilitarianism, with all its commitment to consequentialism (but see Idea 6246), and to the maximising of happiness. It is a brilliant idea.

Related Idea

Idea 6246 My action is not made good by a good effect, if I did not foresee and intend it [Hutcheson]