rule utilitarianism


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rule utilitarianism

The moral theory that an action that follows a demonstrably proven ethical formula will necessarily be a good act. The ethical rule is judged to be correct by the amount of good it effects when it is followed.
See also: utilitarianism
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Rule utilitarianism takes the view that an act is right if the rule dictating the act maximizes happiness or the greatest good for the greatest number.
When Barnett refers to the evaluation of practices as opposed to acts by their consequences, he is likely referring to a distinction akin to that between act and rule utilitarianism.
Indeed, Beauchamp, who espouses rule utilitarianism, and Childress, who favors deontological theory, admit that "for both of us the most satisfactory theory is only slightly preferable" and that the distinction between the theories "can be and has been overestimated.