Utilitarianism: Volume 26, Part 1: The Aggregation Question

Utilitarianism: Volume 26, Part 1: The Aggregation Question

by Ellen Frankel Paul, Fred Dycus Miller, Jeffrey Paul
     
 

Utilitarianism and other aggregationist moral theories view the public interest or the general welfare as an aggregate of individual goods. But critics of these theories question whether there is adequate justification for employing the concept of an aggregate social good. How are we supposed to sum up individual interests? Is it even possible to compare the

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Overview

Utilitarianism and other aggregationist moral theories view the public interest or the general welfare as an aggregate of individual goods. But critics of these theories question whether there is adequate justification for employing the concept of an aggregate social good. How are we supposed to sum up individual interests? Is it even possible to compare the utilities of different people or to assign values to individual utilities that can be added or subtracted? If not, how is the general good to be aggregated? Critics have also raised concerns about the aggregative approach in ethics-concerns about its implications for distributive justice, individual liberty, and democratic institutions.

The essays in this volume explore these issues and address related questions. Some of them examine specific objections to aggregation or ask whether an aggregative approach to morality is consistent with respect for the separateness of persons. Some analyze the very idea of a social good or social welfare. Other essays discuss the application of aggregative principles to particular problems, asking how these principles should guide us when we distribute scarce resources, or make judgments about collective responsibility, or seek to improve the position of the worst-off members of society. Still other essays explore the thought of historical figures who have influenced debates over aggregation, including John Stuart Mill and G. E. Moore.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780521756327
Publisher:
Cambridge University Press
Publication date:
09/27/2010
Series:
Social Philosophy and Policy Series
Edition description:
Reissue
Pages:
404
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.90(d)

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