Utilitarianism, contractualism and demandingness

Philosophical Quarterly 60 (239):225-242 (2010)
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One familiar criticism of utilitarianism is that it is too demanding. It requires us to promote the happiness of others, even at the expense of our own projects, our integrity, or the welfare of our friends and family. Recently Ashford has defended utilitarianism, arguing that it provides compelling reasons for demanding duties to help the needy, and that other moral theories, notably contractualism, are committed to comparably stringent duties. In response, I argue that utilitarianism is even more demanding than is commonly realized: both act- and rule-utilitarianism are committed to extremely stringent duties to wild animals. In this regard, utilitarianism is more demanding (and more counter-intuitive) than contractualism.



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Alison Hills
Oxford University

Citations of this work

Wild Animal Suffering is Intractable.Nicolas Delon & Duncan Purves - 2018 - Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 31 (2):239-260.
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