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Sidgwick on Bentham: the 'double aspect' of utilitarianism

SCHOFIELD, TP; (2011) Sidgwick on Bentham: the 'double aspect' of utilitarianism (Bucolo, P ; Bucolo, G, Trans.). In: Bucolo, P and Crisp, R and Schultz, B, (eds.) Proceedings of the second World Congress on Henry Sidgwick : ethics, psychics, politics. (pp. 412 - 469). University of Catania: Catania, Italy. Green open access

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Abstract

Henry Sidgwick identified in the writings of Jeremy Bentham the problem that he termed the ‘double aspect’ of utilitarianism. At the same time that Bentham’s utilitarianism advocated the promotion of the general happiness, it assumed the predominant selfishness of human beings. The problem was how to ensure that self-interested individuals pursued a non-selfish end. Bentham had created the problem by including both a psychological and ethical dimension in his utilitarianism, and his followers, including John Stuart Mill, had failed to deal with it. It is argued here that Bentham had more resources at his disposal to solve the problem of the ‘double aspect’ than Sidgwick appreciated, but it is recognized that Sidgwick himself thought that there was no solution unless one was able to assume the existence of a duty-enforcing divine being.

Type:Proceedings paper
Title:Sidgwick on Bentham: the 'double aspect' of utilitarianism
ISBN-13:9788866000228
Open access status:An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Publisher version:http://www.cuecm.it/index.php?sez=libro&id=544
Language:English
Additional information:Full text made available with permission from Editor
Keywords:Bentham, Sidgwick, Utilitarianism, Ethics
UCL classification:UCL > School of Arts and Social Sciences > Faculty of Laws > Bentham Project

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