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Utilitarianism

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A moral theory according to which an action is right if and only if it conforms to the principle of utility. Bentham formulated the principle of utility as part of such a theory in Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation in 1789. An action conforms to the principle of utility if and only if its performance will be more productive of pleasure or happiness, or more preventive of pain or unhappiness, than any alternative. Instead of 'pleasure' and 'happiness' the word 'welfare' is also apt: the value of the consequences of an action is determined solely by the welfare of individuals. 

A characteristic feature of Bentham's theory is the idea that the rightness of an action entirely depends on the value of its consequences. This is why the theory is also described as consequentialist. Bentham's theory differs from certain other varieties of utilitarianism (or consequentialism) by its distinctive assumption that the standard of value is pleasure and the absence of pain; by being an act-utilitarian; and by its maximising assumption that an action is not right unless it tends towards the optimal outcome.

The view that utilitarianism is unable to accommodate any values except the crass, gross or materialistic ones is mistaken.

Since the 1960s, many writers have used consequentialism instead of utilitarianism for the view that the rightness of an action entirely depends on the value of its consequences. Many writers now restrict the word utilitarianism to denote certain kinds of consequentialism, especially Bentham's and Mill's. Currently there is terminological diversity, and the varieties of utilitarianism mentioned elsewhere are varieties of consequentialism.

The Penguin Dictionary of Philosophy


UTILITARIANISM RESOURCES 

  • Utilitarian Glossary
  • Utilitarian Philosophers
  • Utilitarian.org (Nigel Phillips)
  • Ethics Updates
  • John Stuart Mill (biographical details)
  • J.S.Mill (Internet Encyclopedia)
  • Utilitarianism (Catholic Encyclopedia)
  • Utilitarianism (Encyclopaedia Britannica) (Swedish forum) (Wikipedia) (Bob Zunjic) (online utilitarian community) (2007, Gothenburg) (Greg Egan)
  • Hedonism Hotels
  • Utilitarianism
  • Utilitarianism
  • Felicifia
  • Happiness Conference
  • Reasons To Be Cheerful
  • Ethicspapers.com
  • Jeremy Bentham Returns
  • Jeremy Bentham Links (Peter Singer, French tr.)
  • Jeremy Bentham's Greatest Happiness Principle (pdf)
  • Jeremy Bentham
  • Henry Sidgwick Links
  • Peter Singer
  • Peter Singer links
  • Famine, Richesse et Moralite
  • John Stuart Mill Links
  • Pablo Stafforini
  • Utilitarianism (J.S.Mill)
  • The Principle of Utility (J.S.Mill)
  • On Liberty ( J.S. Mill)
  • Questions on JS Mill
  • Mill (Harry Gensler)
  • Utilitarianism Primer (R. N. Johnson)
  • utilitarism.net [Swedish] (Seth Baum) (Bill Haines) (Mark Stein) (Socrethics) (Toby Ord)
  • Charity International
  • Felicifia
  • Essays on John Stuart Mill
  • JS Mill Bicentennial Conference 1806-2006
  • Utilitas
  • Pleasure
  • Hedonism
  • Epicurus
  • Aristippus
  • Cyrenaic Philosophy
  • The Cyrenaics and the Origins of Hedonism
  • Consequentialism
  • Consequentialism
  • The Pushpin Pundit
  • Utilitarian Essays
  • Hostility and the Minimization of Suffering
  • Consequentialism and decision procedures
  • International Society for Utilitarian Studies
  • Nozick's Experience Machine (Eduardo Rivera-López)
  • Principles of Morals and Legislation (Jeremy Bentham)
  • Jeremy Bentham
  • Jeremy Bentham: life
  • The Bentham Project
  • Jeremy's Labyrinth
  • Google Utilitarianism Directory
  • A Critique of Elie Halévy (Francisco Vergara)
  • The Utilitarian Foundations Of Collectivism (Axel Davies on Bentham)
  • God and the English Utilitarians (Ron Roizen) (Richard Chappell) (Carmen Chase) (Douglas Reay)
  • Classical Utilitarianism
  • Indirect Utilitarianism
  • Rincón de ética y moral
  • Precedent Utilitarianism
  • Utilitarianism FAQ (ed. Nigel Phillips)
  • Edmund Gurney (Derek Greatrex) (Prof. Yew-Kwang Ng & Siang Ng) (Clark Wolf) (Nick Bostrom) (G. Matheny and K. Chan; pdf)
  • Panetics
  • World Database of Happiness
  • Money, Happiness and the Hedonic Treadmill
  • The Road to Happiness
  • Human News
  • Utilitarianism and Population Policy
  • Infinite Ethics
  • Letter from Utopia
  • Human Diets and Animal Welfare
  • Journal of Happiness Studies
  • Happiness Quotations
  • Utilitarians (History of Economic Thought)
  • Utilitarianism (Gareth McCaughan)
  • Utilitarianismus [German]
  • The Singer Solution to World Poverty
  • Methods of Ethics (Henry Sidgwick) (online discussion)
  • Negative Utilitarianism
  • Negative Utilitarianism - A Manifesto (Dan Geinster) (Socrethics) (Koenigs et al; PDF) (Paul Hibberd) (H.L. Mencken) (Richard Layard) (Mark Walker) [Polish] (Jon Martin) (Katherine Power)
  • Better Never to Have Been: The Harm of Coming into Existence
  • Negative Utilitarian Justice
  • 'Damage to the prefrontal cortex increases utilitarian moral judgements'
  • To what extent is Utilitarianism compatible with Christian theology?
  • Utopian Brain Stimulation?
  • Riley-Day syndrome
  • R.N. Smart's reply to Popper
  • Portrait of an Ideal World
  • Operationalising Gross National Happiness
  • Economics and Happiness
  • Happiness
  • In Praise of Bio-Happiness
  • Internetowy Serwis Filozoficzny: Utylitaryzm
  • The Pleasure Seekers
  • Precursors of Utilitarianism
  • Happiness Becomes You
  • The End of Suffering
  • The Reproductive Revolution
  • Quantum Ethics?
  • Reprogramming Predators
  • Parfit's Repugnant Conclusion
  • Buddhism and Utilitarianism
  • Utilitarian Bioethics
  • Velpeau's Chimera: Utopian Surgery?
  • Superhappiness?
  • MDMA: Utopian Pharmacology
  • Wirehead Hedonism
  • Paradise-Engineering
  • The Good Drug Guide
  • The Hedonistic Imperative
  • The Post-Darwinian Transition
  • Critique of Aldous Huxley's Brave New World
  • The Abolitionist Project
  • Negative Utilitarianism and the Pinprick Argument
  •  

    Ontology

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    Ontology
    (from the Greek ὄν, genitive ὄντος: of being (neuter participle of εἶναι: to be) and -λογία, -logia: science, study, theory) is the philosophical study of the nature of being, existence or reality in general, as well as of the basic categories of being and their relations. Traditionally listed as a part of the major branch of philosophy known as metaphysics, ontology deals with questions concerning what entities exist or can be said to exist, and how such entities can be grouped, related within a hierarchy, and subdivided according to similarities and differences.

     

    Henotheism

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    Henotheism
    (Greek εἷς θεός heis theos "one god") is a term coined by Max Müller, to mean worshiping a single god while accepting the existence or possible existence of other deities. Müller made the term central to his criticism of Western theological and religious exceptionalism (relative to Eastern religions), focusing on a cultural dogma which held "monotheism" to be both fundamentally well-defined and inherently superior to differing conceptions of God.

    Variations on the term have been "inclusive monotheism" and "monarchical polytheism", designed to differentiate differing forms of the phenomenon. Related terms are monolatrism and kathenotheism, which are typically understood as sub-types of henotheism. The latter term is an extension of "henotheism", from καθ' ἕνα θεόν (kath' hena theon) —"one god at a time". Henotheism is similar but less exclusive than monolatry because a monolator worships only one god (denying that other gods are worthy of worship), while the henotheist may worship any within the pantheon, depending on circumstances, although he usually will worship only one throughout his life (barring some sort of conversion). In some belief systems, the choice of the supreme deity within a henotheistic framework may be determined by cultural, geographical, historical or political reasons.

    Henotheism is based on the belief that god may take any form at any time and still have the same essential nature. The central idea is that one name for god may be used in a circumstance where a particular aspect of god is being represented or worshiped while a different name may be given to or used to describe or worship a different aspect of god in a different circumstance. This example does not imply the superiority of one over another, but simply that god can exist in many forms at once and offering worship or praise using different names does not have to imply polytheism. Henotheism is sometimes considered a sophisticated version of monotheism in that it allows the worshiper to believe in essentially one Supreme Being and still appreciate and not limit the names, expressions, or manifestations used to describe it.

     

    Panentheism

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    Panentheism
    (from Greek πᾶν (pân) "all"; ἐν (en) "in"; and θεός (theós) "God"; "all-in-God") is a belief system which posits that God exists and interpenetrates every part of nature, and timelessly extends beyond as well. Panentheism is distinguished from pantheism, which holds that God is synonymous with the material universe.

    Briefly put, in pantheism, "God is the whole"; in panentheism, "The whole is in God." This means that the Universe in the first formulation is practically the Whole itself, but in the second the universe and God are not ontologically equivalent. In panentheism, God is not exactly viewed as the creator or demiurge, but the eternal animating force behind the universe, with the universe as nothing more than the manifest part of God. The cosmos exists within God, who in turn "pervades" or is "in" the cosmos. While pantheism asserts that God and the universe are coextensive, panentheism claims that God is greater than the universe and that the universe is contained within God.

     



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