more from Will Kymlicka

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: Intro [1990], 2.3.a)

Book Reference

Kymlicka,Will: 'Contemporary Political Philosophy: an Intro' [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.