[From English utility: usefulness.]

  1. (ethics) A form of consequentialism, initiated by Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832) and peaking with John Stuart Mill (1806-1873), that advocated the principle of "the greatest good for the greatest number" in ethics and society. Utilitarianism was usually a form of altruism, although Mill advocated a kind of individualism since he thought that the best way for humanity to make progress was through the achievements of individuals. Utilitarianism has never made a deep impression in American philosophy, where consequentialism has generally taken the form of pragmatism.

The Ism Book by Peter Saint-Andre

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