Utilitarianism, Hedonism, and Desert

Utilitarianism, Hedonism, and Desert : Essays in Moral Philosophy

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Fred Feldman is an important philosopher, who has made a substantial contribution to utilitarian moral philosophy. This collection of ten previously published essays plus a new introductory essay reveal the striking originality and unity of his views. Feldman's version of utilitarianism differs from traditional forms in that it evaluates behaviour by appeal to the values of accessible worlds. These worlds are in turn evaluated in terms of the amounts of pleasure they contain, but the conception of pleasure involved is a novel one and the formulation of hedonism improved. In Feldman's view pleasure is not a feeling but a propositional attitude. He also deals with problems of justice that affect standard forms of utilitarianism. The collection is ideally suited for courses on contemporary utilitarian theory.
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Product details

  • Online resource
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 8 b/w illus.
  • 1139174975
  • 9781139174978

Review quote

'Fred Feldman is the most distinguished contemporary defender of 'the utilitarian idea'. One of his long-standing concerns has been to try to work out how best to formulate it, and these essays are among his efforts to do so. They display extraordinary analytical skill, and they make clear that much more can be said for the idea than its opponents would lead you to believe. A helpful Introduction describes the problems that need to be solved, and summarizes the ways in which the essays try to solve them. All but one of the essays were previously published, in a scatter of places; it is very welcome to have them available in one volume, for classroom use as well as for private study.' Judith Thomson, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
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Table of contents

Introduction; Part I. Utilitarianism: 1. World utilitarianism; 2. On the extensional equivalence of simple and general utilitarianism; 3. The principle of moral harmony; 4. On the consistency of act and motive utilitarianism; Part II. Hedonism: 5. Two questions about pleasure; 6. Mill, Moore, and the consistency of qualified Hedonism; 7. On the intrinsic value of pleasures; Part III. Desert: 8. Adjusting utility for justice; 9. Desert: reconsideration of some received wisdom; 10. Justice, desert, and the repugnant conclusion; Index of subjects; Index of persons; Index of cases.
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