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Utilitarianism – Origins and Evolution

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  • Cosma Sorinel

    () („Ovidius” University of Constanta, Faculty of Economic Sciences)

Abstract

The history of ethics is an essencial part of the history of philosphy. Utilitarianism is an abstract ethical doctrineat the core of which lie the concepts of pleasure and pain. This approach to normative ethics may be regarded as England’s most prominent contribution to the development of the ethical theory, since two English philosophers, Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832) and John Stuart Mill (1806-1873) are considered to be classical utilitarians. Bentham described utilitarianism as the greatest happiness principle. The principle of utility, forms the cornerstone of all his thought. Mill's famous formulation of utilitarianism holds that one must always act so as to produce the greatest aggregate happiness among all sentient beings, within reason. Mill's major contribution to utilitarianism is his argument for the qualitative separation of pleasures.

Suggested Citation

  • Cosma Sorinel, 2011. "Utilitarianism – Origins and Evolution," Ovidius University Annals, Economic Sciences Series, Ovidius University of Constantza, Faculty of Economic Sciences, vol. 0(2), pages 273-276, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:ovi:oviste:v:xi:y:2011:i:9:p:273-276
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    utility; utilitarianism; ethics; hedonism; consequentialism.;

    JEL classification:

    • B12 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought through 1925 - - - Classical (includes Adam Smith)

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