welfare/utilitarianism | The Question Beggar | Page 2
John Stuart Mill: Ethics - Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy
Notice that these relationships among duty, justice, and rights donot yet introduce any utilitarian elements. But Mill does think thatwhether sanctions ought to be applied to an action—and hencewhether it is wrong—and whether society ought to enforce anindividual's claim—and hence whether she has a right—bothdepend upon the utility or expediency of doing so (V 25). He does notsay precisely what standard of expediency he has in mind. Inparticular, he does not say whether the relevant test for whethersomething is wrong requires that sanctions be optimal or merelybeneficial. To fix ideas, let us assume that an action is wrong if andonly if it is optimal to sanction it.
UTILITARIANISM IN MEDICAL ETHICS – A STUDY ON …
Because this account of duty defines the rightness and wrongness ofan act, not in terms of its utility, as act utilitarianism does, but interms of the utility of applying sanctions to the conduct, it is anindirect form of utilitarianism. Because justice is a species of duty,it inherits this indirect character (also see Lyons 1994). Because itmakes the deontic status of conduct depend upon the utility ofsanctioning that conduct in some way, we might call this conception ofduty, justice, and rights sanction utilitarianism. Becausesanction utilitarianism is a species of indirect utilitarianism, it isinconsistent with act utilitarianism. The introduction of indirectutilitarian ideas in Chapter V of Utilitarianism into anaccount of utilitarianism that otherwise looks act utilitarian revealsa fundamental tension in Mill's thought about duty.