The Greatest Happiness Principle*: T. L. S. Sprigge

Utilitas 3 (1):37-51 (1991)
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My purpose in what follows is not so much to defend the basic principle of utilitarianism as to indicate the form of it which seems most promising as a basic moral and political position. I shall take the principle of utility as offering a criterion for two different sorts of evaluation: first, the merits of acts of government, social policies, and social institutions, and secondly, the ultimate moral evaluation of the actions of individuals. I do not take it as implying that the individual should live his life on the basis of constant evaluations of this sort. For there are different levels of decision making each with its appropriate criteria. For example, we each inevitably make many of our decisions from the point of view of our own personal self-fulfilment and this cannot regularly take a directly utilitarian form, nor should the utilitarian want it to do so. His claim is at most that we should sometimes review our life from the point of view of a kind of impersonal moral truth of a universalistic utilitarian character.



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Citations of this work

Happiness.Dan Haybron - forthcoming - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Happiness and pleasure.Daniel M. Haybron - 2001 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 62 (3):501-528.
On being happy or unhappy.Daniel M. Haybron - 2005 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 71 (2):287–317.
Six theses about pleasure.Stuart Rachels - 2004 - Philosophical Perspectives 18 (1):247-267.

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