Two Concepts of Rule Utilitarianism

Two Concepts of Rule Utilitarianism Journal of Moral Philosophy 5 (2008) 227–255 JOURNAL OF MORAL PHILOSOPHY www.brill.nl/jmp © Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2008 DOI 10.1163/174552408X328993 Two Concepts of Rule Utilitarianism Rex Martin Department of Philosophy, University of Kansas, Wescoe Hall, 1445 Jayhawk Blvd., Room 3090, Lawrence, KS 66045-7590, USA rexmartin@kc.rr.com Abstract Th e notion of rule utilitarianism (a twentieth-century addition to the canon of utilitarian thought) has been discussed under two main headings—ideal-rule utilitarianism and ‘indirect’ utilitarianism. Th e distinction between them is often hazy. But we can sketch out each perspective along three diff erent dimensions, contrasting the two conceptions of rule utilitarianism at each of three main hinge points: (1) the grounding of rules, (2) the allowed complexity of rules, (3) the confl ict of rules. Th ese two profi les constitute ideal types, but they help us see that we can regiment and focus utilitarian intuitions in two quite distinct ways. An interesting test case is provided by J.S. Mill. He has been associated with each of these perspectives (with a utilitarianism of ideal rules by R.B. Brandt and with indirect utilitarianism by John Gray), but careful attention to Mill’s main arguments indicates, I believe, that he adheres to neither http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Moral Philosophy Brill

Two Concepts of Rule Utilitarianism

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Publisher
BRILL
Copyright
© 2008 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands
ISSN
1740-4681
eISSN
1745-5243
D.O.I.
10.1163/174552408X328993
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Journal of Moral Philosophy 5 (2008) 227–255 JOURNAL OF MORAL PHILOSOPHY www.brill.nl/jmp © Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2008 DOI 10.1163/174552408X328993 Two Concepts of Rule Utilitarianism Rex Martin Department of Philosophy, University of Kansas, Wescoe Hall, 1445 Jayhawk Blvd., Room 3090, Lawrence, KS 66045-7590, USA rexmartin@kc.rr.com Abstract Th e notion of rule utilitarianism (a twentieth-century addition to the canon of utilitarian thought) has been discussed under two main headings—ideal-rule utilitarianism and ‘indirect’ utilitarianism. Th e distinction between them is often hazy. But we can sketch out each perspective along three diff erent dimensions, contrasting the two conceptions of rule utilitarianism at each of three main hinge points: (1) the grounding of rules, (2) the allowed complexity of rules, (3) the confl ict of rules. Th ese two profi les constitute ideal types, but they help us see that we can regiment and focus utilitarian intuitions in two quite distinct ways. An interesting test case is provided by J.S. Mill. He has been associated with each of these perspectives (with a utilitarianism of ideal rules by R.B. Brandt and with indirect utilitarianism by John Gray), but careful attention to Mill’s main arguments indicates, I believe, that he adheres to neither

Journal

Journal of Moral PhilosophyBrill

Published: Jan 1, 2008

Keywords: UTILITARIANISM; RULES; IDEAL RULES; MILL; INDIRECT UTILITARIANISM; ACT UTILITARIANISM

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