This book offers a detailed utilitarian analysis of the ethical issues involved in war. Utilitarianism and the Ethics of War addresses the two basic ethical questions posed by war: when, if ever, are we morally justified in waging war, and if recourse to arms is warranted, how are we permitted to fight the wars we wage? In addition, it deals with the challenge that realism and relativism raise for the ethical discussion of war, and with the duties of military personnel and the moral challenges they can face. In tackling these matters, the book covers a wide range of topics—from pacifism to armed humanitarian intervention, from the right of national defense to pre-emptive or preventive war, from civilian immunity to the tenets of just war theory and the moral underpinnings of the rules of war. But, what is distinctive about this book is that it provides a consistent and thorough-going utilitarian or consequentialist treatment of the fundamental normative issues that war occasions. Although it goes against the tide of recent work in the field, a utilitarian approach to the ethics of war illuminates old questions in new ways by showing how a concern for well-being and the consequences of our actions and policies shape the moral constraints to which states and other actors must adhere. This book will be of much interest to students of the ethics of war, just war theory, moral philosophy, war and conflict studies and IR.
In this Very Short Introduction Peter Singer and Katarzyna de Lazari-Radek provide an authoritative account of the nature of utilitarianism, from its nineteenth-century origins, to its justification and its varieties. Considering how utilitarians can respond to objections that are often regarded as devastating, they explore the utilitarian answer to the question of whether torture can ever be justified. They also discuss what it is that utilitarians should seek to maximize, paying special attention to the classical utilitarian view that only pleasure or happiness is of intrinsic value. Singer and de Lazari-Radek conclude by analysing the continuing importance of utilitarianism in the world, indicating how it is a force for new thinking on contemporary moral challenges like global poverty, the treatment of animals, climate change, reducing the risk of human extinction, end-of-life decisions for terminally-ill patients, and the shift towards assessing the success of government policies in terms of their impact on happiness.
Utilitarianism is the ethical theory advanced by Jeremy Bentham, J.S. Mill, and Henry Sidgwick and has contributed significantly to contemporary moral and political philosophy. Yet it is not without controversy and is a subject that students can often find particularly perplexing. Utilitarianism: A Guide for the Perplexed offers a concise, yet fully comprehensive introduction to utilitarianism, its historical roots, key themes, and current debates. Krister Bykvist provides a survey of the modern debate about utilitarianism and goes on to evaluate utilitarianism in comparison with other theories, in particular virtue ethics and Kantianism. Bykvist offers a critical examination of utilitarianism, distinguishing problems that are unique to utilitarianism from those that are shared by other moral theories. Focusing on the problems unique to utilitarianism, the book provides a well-balanced assessment of where the theory goes astray and is in need of revision. Geared towards the specific requirements of students who need to reach a sound understanding of utilitarianism, this book serves as an ideal companion to study of this influential and challenging of philosophical concepts.
The idea of utility as a value, goal or principle in political, moral and economic life has a long and rich history. Now available in paperback, The Bloomsbury Encyclopedia of Utilitarianism captures the complex history and the multi-faceted character of utilitarianism, making it the first work of its kind to bring together all the various aspects of the tradition for comparative study. With more than 200 entries on the authors and texts recognised as having built the tradition of utilitarian thinking, it covers issues and critics that have arisen at every stage. There are entries on Plato, Epicurus, and Confucius and progenitors of the theory like John Gay and David Hume, together with political economists, legal scholars, historians and commentators. Cross-referenced throughout, each entry consists of an explanation of the topic, a bibliography of works and suggestions for further reading. Providing fresh juxtapositions of issues and arguments in utilitarian studies and written by a team of respected scholars, The Bloomsbury Encyclopedia of Utilitarianism is an authoritative and valuable resource.
Is ethics about happiness? Aristotle thought so and for centuries Christians agreed, until utilitarianism raised worries about where this would lead. In this volume, Peter Singer, leading utilitarian philosopher and controversial defender of infanticide and euthanasia, addresses this question in conversation with Christian ethicists and secular utilitarians. Their engagement reveals surprising points of agreement and difference on questions of moral theory, the history of ethics, and current issues such as climate change, abortion, poverty and animal rights. The volume explores the advantages and pitfalls of basing morality on happiness; if ethics is teleological, is its proper aim the subjective satisfaction of preferences? Or is human flourishing found in objective goods: friendship, intellectual curiosity, meaningful labour? This volume provides a timely review of how utilitarians and Christians conceive of the good, and will be of great interest to those studying religious ethics, philosophy of religion and applied ethics.
Presenting a useful commentary for students on Mill's Utilitarianism, this guide contains the text of Utilitarianism and twelve related essays. Three of these are background essays, five are analyses of the arguments in Utilitarianism, and a final section of four essays addresses some contemporary debates within the utilitarian tradition.
This book offers a comprehensive overview of one of the most important and frequently discussed accounts of morality. It will be an important resource for all those studying moral philosophy, political philosophy, political theory and history of ideas.
Three lines of argument are central to this book: that Plato's views as expounded in the Republic indicate that he was a utilitarian; that utilitarianism is the only acceptable ethical theory; that these conclusions have significant repercussions for education. Throughout the book the exposition of utilitarianism and the interpretation of the Republic are closely linked and the author defends Plato against the criticisms of Karl Popper, Bertrand Russell and R H S Crossman.