Utilitarian

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Related to Utilitarians: deontologists, Kantians

Utilitarian

A person who believes moral actions must provide the greatest good to the greatest number of persons. Utilitarians emphasize 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.
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References in periodicals archive ?
The conflict between humanitarians and utilitarians in the law of war is nothing new.
Smith explains: "To the radical utilitarian Harris, saving two or more lives at the expense of one murder would bring greater overall happiness than the suffering caused by the killing of one man or woman.
Nor does Bailey discuss Scanlon's(2) alternative version of contractualism, formulated as a more direct challenge to the utilitarian account of moral wrongness itself.
If Bentham can be interpreted as a liberal utilitarian, then the same can be done for Spencer, Weinstein claims.
Insofar as the remarks above about "ought," "can" and degrees of difficulty are acceptable, the dualist proposal is a natural extension of utilitarianism and the principle that "ought" implies "can." Since all good utilitarians are adherents of that principle, they could regard the proposed theory as well in line with their overall normative concerns.
For this reason, moral rights have been characterized as "trump cards" against utilitarian arguments.
For example, Nigel Walker argues that, if the debate is taken from the utilitarian point of view, there is no need to compromise, except at the political level when the utilitarian must accept at least one feature of retributivism, namely proportionality.
Kant and the utilitarians were not trying to say what should be moral but to describe the underlying logic by which we justify our actions.
But if this is the basis of Audi's distinction, it is unclear why utilitarians must be externalists.
If we look at their arguments, we see that utilitarians look to the future, while the Natural Law looks to the present moment.
There were utilitarian penologists before Beccaria and Bentham: Aquinas was one (of sorts: secular penalties should aim at utility, God's at retributive justice); Plato was another, and he in turn was influenced by Protagoras.
First, he attempts to bridge the gulf between those who argue for private property, individual rights, and freedom of contract from a "natural law" perspective and those who advance these ideas from a more utilitarian perspective.