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Related to Utilitarian ethics: Kantian ethics, Deontological ethics


Etymology: L, utilis, useful, isma, practice
a doctrine of ethics that the purpose of all action should be to bring about the greatest happiness for the greatest number of people and that the value of anything is determined by its utility. The philosophy is often applied in the distribution of health care resources, as in decisions regarding the expenditure of public funds for health services.


The moral philosophy that holds that an action is ethical according to its utility or usefulness in enhancing the welfare, safety, happiness, or pleasure of the community at large. This doctrine is popularly summarized as an action is ethical if it generates the greatest good for the greatest number of people.

act utilitarianism

The moral theory that the best action is the one that enhances the general welfare more than any other available or known alternative. An action is judged in terms of the goodness of its consequences with no consideration of the rules of action.

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.
References in periodicals archive ?
The fundamental question posed by the title of this article is does an intrinsic antinomy exist between scientific and technical progress and social equality; or is this contradiction historic in conception, situated within limits of societies hegemonized by individualistic utilitarian ethics founded by the forerunners of modern economics.
In this historical context, the utilitarian ethics is dominant as" center of social life.
A More Comprehensive Approach to Utilitarian Ethics
Utilitarian ethics suffers from several structural deficiencies.
Utilitarian ethics may be summarized by the following flow chart.
The first one, utilitarian ethic, is familiar to economists.
An Outline of a System of Utilitarian Ethics," in J.
To Koop, to allow such "quality of life" concerns into the medical decision process not only defies the word of God but is--like abortion--a first step onto the slippery slope of the kind of utilitarian ethics that led to Nazi death camps.
In addition to being impracticable, Harris's theory of a "scientific" utilitarian ethics suffers from a variety of deeper and wider philosophic problems, of which we will consider two.
I strongly agree with Roth's conclusion concerning the nature of utilitarian ethics.
McCloskey begins her book by recognizing how both Kantian and utilitarian ethics have been unfriendly (if not hostile) to laissez-faire capitalism, the former by requiring man to subordinate his personal pursuit of happiness to self-sacrificial duty, the latter by condoning hedonism while dismissing man's individual rights.