Follower of the idea of Utilitarianism (by escherIV). In this philosophy, morality is based on the consequences of a person's actions. A morally good action is that which most benefits society, or moves us closer to utopia. A bad action is that which makes people unhappy without any perceivable benefits to society.

Thus, a utilitarian would say that putting a murderer in jail, or executing him, is morally justifiable because society benefits from having fewer people randomly killed. Placing someone found in posession of a substance like marajuana in jail is NOT morally justifiable because it makes that person unhappy and doesn't do anyone else any good either.

More genrally, we feel that any action that does no harm to others should be allowed. Good and bad are things that must be decided upon based on some sort of analysis. Just because somebody thought at one time it was wrong to have a divorce (NB by dizzy), doesn't mean that we should never have divorces anymore.

Morality is relative to the society in which an action occurs. For example, at one time, many societies may have found advantages to having large populations. It makes sense for such a society to decide that homosexuality is bad since it slows population growth. If, however, the society's population increases to such a degree that the resources of the globe are ruthlessly destroyed in supporting that society, it may make more sense to think of homosexuality as good.

One who believes that the morally right action is the one with the best consequences, so far as the distribution of happiness is concerned; a creature generally believed to be endowed with the propensity to ignore their own drowning children in order to push buttons which will cause mild sexual gratification in a warehouse full of rabbits.

- Henry Fitzgerald, A Non-Philosopher's Guide to Philosophical Terms

The chief flaw in Utilitarianism as a system of ethics is that happiness or utility is a subjective individual property, and human nature being what it is, a decision that makes one person or group of people happy will always make another group equally unhappy. Objectivism eliminates this flaw by arguing that rational thought can determine which group should be made happy, which, obviously, introduces quite a few new flaws. So it goes.

U*til`i*ta"ri*an (?), a. [See Utility.]


Of or pertaining to utility; consisting in utility; aiming at utility as distinguished from beauty, ornament, etc.; sometimes, reproachfully, evincing, or characterized by, a regard for utility of a lower kind, or marked by a sordid spirit; as, utilitarian narrowness; a utilitarian indifference to art.


Of or pertaining to utilitarianism; supporting utilitarianism; as, the utilitarian view of morality; the Utilitarian Society.

J. S. Mill.


© Webster 1913.

U*til`i*ta"ri*an (?), n.

One who holds the doctrine of utilitarianism.

The utilitarians are for merging all the particular virtues into one, and would substitute in their place the greatest usefulness, as the alone principle to which every question respecting the morality of actions should be referred. Chalmers.

But what is a utilitarian? Simply one who prefers the useful to the useless; and who does not? Sir W. Hamilton.


© Webster 1913.

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