Act utilitarianism


Act utilitarianism

Act utilitarianism is a utilitarian theory of ethics which states that the morally right action is the one which produces the greatest amount of happiness for the greatest number of people. Act utilitarianism is opposed to rule utilitarianism, which states that the morally right action is the one that is in accordance with a moral rule whose general observance would create the most happiness. Act utilitarianism makes no appeals to general rules, but instead demands that the agent evaluate individual circumstances.

Utilitarianism

Utilitarianism is a consequentialist theory, which means that it stipulates that the morality of an action is determined by its outcome. (This is opposed to deontology, which argues that moral actions should flow from duties or motives.) This consequentialism is then combined with philosophical hedonism, which posits happiness or pleasure as the ultimate worthwhile pursuit. Therefore, since only the consequences of an action matter, and only happiness matters, then the morally correct action in any situation is the one that results in the greatest sum of happiness or pleasure.

ee also

*Rule utilitarianism
*Two-level utilitarianism
*Preference utilitarianism
*Jeremy Bentham
*John Stuart Mill
*Peter Singer

Notes


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