Rule Utilitarianism

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  • Created by: Lottie
  • Created on: 28-05-12 12:53

Rule Utilitarianism

Some general principles are formulated. From these, certain actions will be ruled out as unacceptable. The principle of utility is therefore applied to a rule, so the rule will hold if in general following it leads to greater happiness. This means that in an individual case, even though an injustice might bring about greater happiness, if it goes against the general principle that injustice tends to lead to misery and a reduction in happiness, it is deemed wrong.

Bentham is generally seen as an Act Utilitarian, as the Greatest Happiness Principle seems to demand. As we saw, he is open to the criticism that Utilitarianism goes against justice and human rights, as it allows abuses of rights if they bring enough happiness. Mill may be seen as a Rule Utilitarian, as he clearly thinks certain rules have a Utilitarian justification. In his book 'Utilitarianism', Mill defends…


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