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Utilitarianism(Utilitarianism) orUtilitarianism(British: utilitarianism)[1]It is,action,system Of社会Desire arises as a resultutility(Utilitarianism, usefulness,British: utility) Is the idea.ConsequentialismOne of. It has been proposed to use translations such as "utilitarianism" and "daifukuism" to avoid the misunderstanding caused by the Japanese sense of "utilitarianism".[2].

ethics,Legal philosophy,politics,Welfare economicsIt is used in such cases.


Of society as a whole幸福The idea of ​​emphasizing utilitarianism has been around for a long time, but it was the systematization of utilitarianism.Jeremy Bentham.

Bentham's utilitarianism, also known as classical utilitarianism,IndividualIt emphasizes maximizing the sum of all the benefits of, and is also called summation. "Maximum number of maximum happiness"[3]It is sometimes called, but to be exact, it is "maximum happiness."While this position is still strongly supported, there are also various critical positions.

In utilitarianism, utility is assumed to be comparable.Bentham assumes that pleasure and pain can be counted quantitativelyQuantitative hedonismI thought.On the other handJS MillClaims that there are qualitative differences in pleasure that cannot be reduced to mere quantity.Qualitative hedonismHowever, he did not abandon the basic position of pleasure calculation.

In the 20th century, the pleasure calculation was abandoned, but it appeared.hair,singerIs regarded as the representative.


"Maximum happiness of the largest numberIs the utilitarian slogan that continues from Bentham.幸福ThepleasureIs it the total of the deduction of pain and pain?PreferenceIt can be divided into the following two depending on the satisfaction of.

  • HedonismType (HappinessType) Utilitarianism
  • Preference-satisfying utilitarianism (preference utilitarianism)

In addition, it is classified into the following two types depending on whether the principle of maximum happiness is used as the standard for the correctness of individual actions or the standard for the correctness of general rules of conduct.

  • Act utilitarianism
  • Rule utilitarianism

Action Utilitarianism and Rule Utilitarianism

Both have different utilitarian principles (profit = good).The former is an actProfit("Is it profitable to do it?"), And the latter is based on "rules" ("Is it profitable if everyone follows it?").

For example, in act utilitarianism, "poor"People steal food for their children"childrenIt doesn't matter because it helps, and if there is a rule in utilitarianism that "you can steal food for children"theftIs rampantSecurityIt shouldn't be because it gets worse.

You should follow the rules that give you the best results.

Quantitative Utilitarianism and Qualitative Utilitarianism

Qualitative, unlike quantitative utilitarianismHedonismThen.pleasureTake the position of seeking qualitative classification according to the type of.Representative of the latterJS Mill"SatisfiedDream PorkLess satisfied thanA humanIt is better to be. "The mill itself should be sought精神Overcome the pleasures of the narrow selfishnessGolden ruleInsisted on finding out (act as you want others to do).

Total Utilitarianism and Average Utilitarianism

Total utilitarianism is a position that considers that the greater the total utility of society as a whole, the more justice is appropriate.Average utilitarianism, on the other hand, is a position that demands that the average utility level of each individual member of society be raised.

Gross utilitarianism, as a starting point, appreciates the value of entering political society by birth.For total utilitarians, the unborn state is the most unfortunate state, and therefore it is morally good to have as many human beings as possible appear in the world.

On the other hand, average utilitarianism considers the counter-intuitive consequences of pursuing only the total amount (described later) and the unfortunate circumstances in which it is better not to enter the political society.Therefore, the aim is to secure the utility of an individual above a substantially certain threshold.

However, there are criticisms that both positions have the drawback of justifying counter-intuitive consequences.

First, regarding total utilitarianism, consider the following two societies. (The numbers in the elements are the utility of each individual.)

A = {20,20,20,20,20}

B = {1,1,1, ......, 1} (Society with 1 individuals with utility 101)

According to total utilitarianism, B is justified as a "correct" society because society B is 100 for society A with a total utility of 101.However, utility 1 is clearly inferior to utility 20 in terms of living standards, and it is counterintuitive to seek a basis only for the number of people and simple total utility.

Similarly, we consider two societies regarding average utilitarianism.

C = {20,20,20,20,20}

D = {100,1,1,1,1}

According to average utilitarianism, D is justified. This is because the average utility of D is 20, while the average utility of C is 20.8.However, justifying D leaves a huge amount of inequality compared to C, which is also counterintuitive.[4].

Relationship with other theories and ideas

egoismIs often confused with utilitarianism, but in general, utilitarianism refers to the position that it is good to be in the interests of all, rather than selfishness that is good only for "private interests".contradictionIt can even be.

National socialism,DemocracyIs a political idea based on utilitarianism.

Refutations and attacks on utilitarianism have been made from many angles.

Relationship with welfare economics

In utilitarianism, the cardinal limit of utility, which allows it to be compared and added together between different individuals.utilityThe law of diminishing is premised, and income redistribution to maximize the total utility of all people in society is affirmed.

Pigouof"Welfare economicsIn ”, income redistribution generally increases economic welfare unless it reduces the output of the economy as a whole (“Pigovian's second proposition”), and presupposes the law of diminishing marginal utility. As long as income redistribution can meet the stronger desires of the poor, it is clear that it will increase the total amount of desire fulfillment.

On the other hand, in new welfare economics,RobinsIn "Essence and Significance of Economics", the measurable (radix) of utility was denied because there was no way to compare the satisfaction of different people because some introspection could not measure the inner heart of others.Pigou's second propositionIs just an ethical assumption.


In the above, the word "individual" was used for convenience, but to be precise, there is a dispute as to what kind of entity's utility should be considered.Specifically, foreigners (such as human rights issues of foreigners) become a problem.After all, distributive justice is out of the question because it looks at society on the scale of pleasure and distress.

There is also the issue of what utility should be considered.For example, the utility gained by bringing misery to others becomes a problem.

Representative theorist

  • Cesare Beccaria --Italian criminal law scholar (1738-1794).He criticized torture and atrocities for their social utility and insisted on the fair application of punishment.
  • Jeremy Bentham --Advocate of utilitarianism.
  • James Mill --Bentham's friend and enthusiastic supporter.
  • John Stuart Mill --James' eldest son.He took Bentham's utilitarianism one step further and wrote "Utilitarianism" (1861).
  • Henry Sidgwick --He was also an avid supporter of John and others.

Are counted as classical utilitarians.

In modern times,

Are known.


[How to use footnotes]
  1. ^ "Digital Daijisen commentary”. Kotobank. 2019/1/6Browse.
  2. ^ Masaki Ichinose"Utilitarianism and Analytic Philosophy" (2010, Japan Broadcast Publishing Association).
  3. ^ Masahiro Ogamino (December 2016, 12). “Maximum happiness of the largest number". Koto bank. Asahi Shimbun digital/VOYAGE GROUP. 2019/9/3Browse.
  4. ^ In relation to these, "" and "" have been proposed as modified utilitarianism, but it seems that the problems pointed out in the text have not been solved.See Iwao Hirose (Taku Saito [translation]) "Philosophy of Equality: From Rolls to Distribution of Health" (Keiso Shobo, 2016).


  • Masaki Ichinose"Utilitarianism and Analytic Philosophy" (2010, Japan Broadcast Publishing Association)ISBN 9784595311918
  • Iwao Hirose([Translation]) "Philosophy of Egalitarianism: From Rawls to the Distribution of Health" (Keiso Shobo, 2016)

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