Understanding Utilitarianism
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Series: Understanding Movements in Modern Thought
Author(s): Tim Mulgan  
ISBN: 1844650901
ISBN-13: 9781844650903
Publication Date: 30/05/2007
Pages: 200 (216 x 138mm)
Format: Paperback
Published Price: £16.99
Discount Price: £13.59
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Utilitarianism – a philosophy based on the principle of the greatest happiness for the greatest number of people – has been hugely influential over the past two centuries. Beyond ethics, utilitarian assumptions and arguments abound in modern economic and political life, especially in public policy. An understanding of utilitarianism is indeed essential to any understanding of contemporary society. Understanding Utilitarianism presents utilitarianism very much as a living tradition. The book begins with a summary of the classical utilitarianism of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries while subsequent chapters trace the development of the central themes of utilitarian thought over the twentieth century. Questions covered include: What is happiness? Is happiness the only valuable thing? Is utilitarianism about acts or rules or institutions? Is utilitarianism unjust, or implausibly demanding, or impractical? Where might utilitarianism go in the future?

“A superb book, wonderfully engaging, philosophically up-to-date and sophisticated. The book has too many virtues to list them all, but what stands out are: just the right amount of historical information to make philosophers real people; splendidly clear and revealing examples; clarity in treating the objections to utilitarianism; and just the right amount of analysis of the arguments on the issues.” – Brad Hooker, University of Reading

Tim Mulgan is Professor of Moral and Political Philosophy at the University of St Andrews.

1. Introduction
2. Classical utilitarianism
3. Proofs of utilitarianism
4. Well-being
5. Injustice and demands
6. Acts, rules and institutions
7. Consequentialism
8. Practicality
9. The future of utilitarianism
Questions for discussion and revision
Further reading

Also available in Hardback (1844650898), priced 50.00

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