Utilitarianism (Political Science)

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  • A theory of morality that asserts that an action is right if it conforms to the principle of utility. Utilitarianism arose in the late 18th and early 19th centuries as a doctrine of social reform. Utilitarianism is a consequentialist belief that right or wrong can only be assessed by the goodness of consequences. Goodness is determined by an act that produces the greatest overall happiness.

    Utilitarianism was first advanced by Jeremy Bentham in 1789 with his publication An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation. Bentham advocated the principle of utility, which stated that the moral value of an action is determined by how it promotes the greatest happiness for the greatest number. The principle of utility was the standard by which Benthamite utilitarians judged ...

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