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The Handbook of Rational and Social Choice$
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Paul Anand, Prasanta Pattanaik, and Clemens Puppe

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199290420

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199290420.001.0001

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Limits Of Utilitarianism As The Ethical Basis Of Publicaction *

Limits Of Utilitarianism As The Ethical Basis Of Publicaction *

Chapter:
(p.323) CHAPTER 13 LIMITS OF UTILITARIANISM AS THE ETHICAL BASIS OF PUBLICACTION*
Source:
The Handbook of Rational and Social Choice
Author(s):

Prasanta K. Pattanaik (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199290420.003.0014

Though utilitarianism has been highly influential as a normative theory of public action, it has faced many searching criticisms throughout its history. In welfare economics, where the dominant conceptual framework was basically utilitarian for a long time, many distinctly non‐utilitarian ethical concerns have been explored in the last few decades. This chapter provides a review of some of the arguments advanced by the critics of utilitarianism as the basis of public action. The chapter starts with a discussion of some basic features of utilitarianism and then reviews a number of objections to utilitarianism, grouping them in three categories: (i) “problems of exclusion” (ii) “problems of inclusion” and (iii) “problems of aggregation”.

Keywords:   consequentialism, utilitarianism, utilitysum criterion, individual rights and freedom, procedural fairness, multiplicity of the preferences of an individual, endogenous desires and preferences, urgency of desires

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