Utilitarianism is the ethical theory advanced by Jeremy Bentham, J.S. Mill, and Henry Sidgwick and has contributed significantly to contemporary moral and political philosophy. Yet it is not without controversy and is a subject that students can often find particularly perplexing.
Utilitarianism: A Guide for the Perplexed offers a concise, yet fully comprehensive introduction to utilitarianism, its historical roots, key themes, and current debates.
Krister Bykvist provides a survey of the modern debate about utilitarianism and goes on to evaluate utilitarianism in comparison with other theories, in particular virtue ethics and Kantianism. Bykvist offers a critical examination of utilitarianism, distinguishing problems that are unique to utilitarianism from those that are shared by other moral theories.
Focusing on the problems unique to utilitarianism, the book provides a well-balanced assessment of where the theory goes astray and is in need of revision. Geared towards the specific requirements of students who need to reach a sound understanding of utilitarianism, this book serves as an ideal companion to study of this influential and challenging of philosophical concepts.