Bentham and Utilitarianism: An Appreciation

  1. Welfarism — the value for some state of affairs is the extent to which people get what they want. Or more precisely, the extent to which it satisfies people’s preferences or desires. Welfarism, then, is a thesis about what sorts of things make a situation better or worse.
  2. Consequentialism — the rightness of some action, rule, policy, or individual disposition consists entirely in the consequences it produces. While welfarism is a thesis about what makes situations good, consequentialism is a thesis about what makes actions/rules/dispositions morally right.
  3. Sum-ranking — in assessing different states of affairs, the utilitarian ranks them according to the sum of individual utilities each. Strictly speaking, this describes “total” utilitarianism. “Average” utilitarianism ranks alternatives according to the average utility in each state of affairs.

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Nick Geiser

Nick Geiser

Political theory PhD. I write about politics and (social) science.