International Journal of Humanities and Social Science

ISSN 2220-8488 (Print), 2221-0989 (Online) 10.30845/ijhss

How Impartialist is the Utilitarian Principle of Utility?
Okorie, Ndukaku Ph.D; Badejo, Omobola Olufunto Ph.D.

Utilitarianism as a normative theory for moral justification is Universalist and impartialist in the sense that it extends equal moral concern and treatment to all living human persons. It finds its justification on the principle of utility, otherwise known as “the greatest happiness principle”. The principle holds that an action is right if it promotes the greatest amount of good over evil for the greatest number of people concerned with, or affected by the action, otherwise wrong. How impartialist is this principle? Our aim in this paper is to demonstrate a partialist interpretation of the utilitarian principle of utility. This implies first, that the principle is partialist and impartialist at the same time. Secondly, it also implies that there is partiality in utilitarianism as a theory of moral evaluation. From the arguments I supply to justify these claims, we draw the implication that utilitarian principle of utility is capable of justifying partialist and impartialist actions.

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