Utilitarianism(redirected from Act utilitarianism)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
Related to Act utilitarianism: Rule utilitarianism
The philosophy holding that moral actions must provide the greatest good to the greatest number of persons. Utilitarianism emphasizes the consequences of actions when evaluating their morality. For example, a utilitarian may regard a lie to a regulator as moral if it saves 2,000 jobs. Critics of utilitarianism contend that consequences are unknowable and argue that it could be used to defend atrocities. Utilitarians, on the other hand, argue that their philosophy is the best way to improve happiness in the aggregate.