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This article is an attempt to take an overview of the current position of utilitarian theory. It begins by providing a definition of utilitarianism as it is found in the works of Bentham, Mill and Sidgwick. These authors are all interpreted as intuitionists. It is claimed that the main rivals to utilitarianism are egoism on the one hand, and reflective non-egoistic pluralism, as found in the work of Ross, on the other. The significance of disagreement between proponents of these views is explained, and modern attempts to ground utilitarianism are found lacking. The article ends with a plea for history.


Institute for Religion and Critical Inquiry

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Journal Article

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