Utilitarianism is one of the most important and influential secular philosophies of modern times, and has drawn considerable debate and controversy. This Very Short Introduction considers its origins, its relevance to modern moral challenges, and the arguments and discussions around utilitarian approaches.
- Offers a comprehensive account of the most important secular ethical theory today
- Draws on recent findings in psychology and neuroscience and discusses their relevance to arguments for utilitarianism.
- Considers the influence of utilitarianism and how it applies to real-word problems.
- Part of Very Short Introductions series - over eight million copies sold worldwide
About the Author(s)
Katarzyna de Lazari-Radek, Assistant Professor, University of Lodz, Institute of Philosophy, and Peter Singer, Ira W. DeCamp Professor of Bioethics, Princeton University & Laureate Professor, University of Melbourne
Katarzyna de Lazari-Radek is a Polish utilitarian philosopher, working as Assistant Professor at the Institute of Philosophy at the University of Lodz. She is the author of several articles in Polish and English on Henry Sidgwick, utilitarianism, bioethics, and philosophy for children, and, with Peter Singer, has co-authored The Point of View of the Universe: Sidgwick
and Contemporary Ethics (OUP, 2014). She is currently working on a book on happiness.
Peter Singer is Ira W. DeCamp Professor of Bioethics in the University Center for Human Values at Princeton University, a position that he now combines with the position of Laureate Professor at the University of Melbourne. An Australian, in 2012 he was made a Companion to the Order of Australia, his country's highest civilian honour. His books include Animal Liberation (1975; Bodley Head, 2015) Practical Ethics (1979; CUP, 2011), The Life You Can Save (Picador, 2010), and The Most Good You Can Do (Yale University Press, 2015).
Table of Contents
3:What should we maximize?
6:Utilitarianism in action
"It is a real gem, which everyone should read." - Professor Richard Layard, author of Happiness: Lessons From a New Science
"the most sophisticated and thought-provoking introduction to utilitarianism produced in the last century, one that in its profusion of thoughts will challenge the critics for years to come..." - Bart Schultz, Utilitas
"This book is quite brilliantly done. It's a very concise book, but it's intelligible and precise ..It's very readable." - Fivebooks
"The Best Philosophy Books of 2017: This book is quite brilliantly done. It's a very concise book, but its intelligible and precise in the way it describes the varieties of utilitarianism. It's very readable and it covers a lot of ground. It covers what you would cover in a university undergraduate course on utilitarianism, but you can read and take it in in four or five hours or so ... Generally, this is the best introduction to utilitarianism that I've seen, with the possible exception of a very old book, which was Utilitarianism: For and Against, by J.J.C. Smart and Bernard Williams." - Nigel Warburton, Five Books
"Written with characteristic clarity by the acknowledged heirs of the founders of utilitarianism, this discussion is authoritative, sympathetic though not uncritical, and remarkably comprehensive in a word, ideal." - Jeff McMahan, Whites Professor of Moral Philosophy, Oxford