Tag Archives: welfarism

Michael Lockwood

Any sane moral theory is bound, it seems to me, to incorporate a welfarist element: other things being equal, it should be regarded as morally preferable to confer greater aggregate benefit than less.

Michael Lockwood, ‘Quality of Life and Resource Allocation’, Royal Institute of Philosophy Lecture Series, vol. 23 (March, 1988), p. 41

Yew-Kwang Ng

One way to see the unacceptability of welfare-independent rights is to ask the question ‘why Right X?’ to a very ultimate level. If the answer is ‘Right X because Y’, then one should ask ‘Why Y?’ For example, if the answer to ‘why free speech?’ is that people enjoy free speech, it is already not welfare-independent. If the answer is free speech deters dictatorship’, then we should ask, ‘Why is it desirable to deter dictatorship?’ If one presses hard enough with such questions, most people will eventually come up with a welfare-related answer.

Yew-Kwang Ng, ‘Welfarism and Utilitarianism: A Rehabilitation’, Utilitas, vol. 2, no. 2 (November, 1990), p. 180

Julian Savulescu

The critical question for utilitarians is not ‘Is this natural or is this appropriate for humans?’ but rather ‘Will this make people’s lives go better?’ […] Objectors to utilitarianism often refer scathingly to the ‘utilitarian calculus’. However utilitarians are in one sense humane: they care ultimate about people’s well-being and not about feelings, or intuitions or attachment to symbols. Utilitarianism is a theory that shows concern for people through concern for their well-being.

Julian Savulescu, ‘Bioethics: Utilitarianism’, in Encyclopedia of Life Sciences, 2006, p. 7

Roger Crisp

Why should th[e] allegedly “impersonal” content [of ideals] matter to us in deciding what to do, if that content, by definition, makes no difference to anyone’s life and so, in that important sense, matters to no one?

Roger Crisp, ‘Egalitarianism and Compassion’, Ethics, vol. 114, no. 1 (October, 2003), p. 129