• Entry
  • Entries A-Z

A school of philosophy that contends that moral principles should be solely based on providing the greatest good for the greatest number of people. This idea is in strict contrast to deontology, which advocates that certain principles should not be violated regardless of their contribution to the greater good. The philosophers Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill are usually credited with founding utilitarian thought, predicating their argument around the notion that people desire pleasure above all else. In such a scenario, it follows that people will seek to maximize their utility (or their amount of general pleasure) and minimize their pain. Furthermore, since pleasure offers the only gauge for human conduct, ethical behavior must be exclusively predicated on maximizing this value. Utilitarianism is thus ultimately ...

locked icon

Sign in to access this content

Get a 30 day FREE TRIAL

  • Watch videos from a variety of sources bringing classroom topics to life
  • Read modern, diverse business cases
  • Explore hundreds of books and reference titles