Utilitarianism For and Against [Book Review]

Review of Metaphysics 28 (1):133-134 (1974)
  Copy   BIBTEX


This book consists of two essays of equal length. The first is a revised edition of Smart’s An Outline of a System of Utilitarian Ethics while the second, by Williams, is a general critique of utilitarianism with pointed reference to Smart. Combining the normative utilitarianism of Henry Sidgwick with the non-cognitivist metaethics of R. M. Hare, Smart outlines a version of act utilitarianism. In the course of doing this, he tackles the traditional problems of utilitarianism. He rejects rule utilitarianism because it is "rule worship." He defends a middle ground between hedonistic and idealistic utilitarianism by admitting that happiness is in part an evaluative and not entirely a descriptive concept. Finally, he defends utilitarianism against deontic and common sense ethical theories by remarking about those cases in which utilitarianism seems to produce jarring results, "so much the worse for common sense ethics." Once one commits oneself to the principle of benevolence, it is the yardstick against which the value of acts is to be measured. Furthermore, this principle leads to the traditional utilitarian distinction between the value of an action and the value of praising or blaming the action.



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 79,724

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Act Utilitarianism.Ben Eggleston - 2014 - In Ben Eggleston & Dale E. Miller (eds.), The Cambridge Companion to Utilitarianism. Cambridge University Press. pp. 125-145.
Rule Utilitarianism and Cumulative-Effect Utilitarianism.Jonathan Harrison - 1979 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 9 (sup1):21-45.
Mill’s Moral Standard.Ben Eggleston - 2017 - In Christopher Macleod & Dale E. Miller (eds.), A Companion to Mill. Oxford, UK: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.. pp. 358-373.
Another look at utilitarianism in mo‐Tzu's thought.Dirck Vorenkamp - 1992 - Journal of Chinese Philosophy 19 (4):423-443.
Utilitarian alternatives to act utilitarianism.Sanford S. Levy - 1997 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 78 (1):93–112.
Mill's utilitarianism: Exposition and evaluation.Golam Azam - 2005 - Philosophy and Progress 37:137.
Ideal Utilitarianism.Anthony Skelton - 2013 - In James Crimmins (ed.), Bloomsbury Encyclopedia of Utilitarianism. Bloomsbury Academic.
A dilemma for objective act-utilitarianism.Gerald Lang - 2004 - Politics, Philosophy and Economics 3 (2):221-239.
Liberal Utilitarianism.Paul Weirich - 1989 - Philosophical Books 30 (3):182-183.


Added to PP

32 (#379,517)

6 months
3 (#242,309)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Citations of this work

No citations found.

Add more citations

References found in this work

No references found.

Add more references