1st Edition

Routledge Revivals: The Greatest Happiness Principle (1986) An Examination of Utilitarianism

By Lanny Ebenstein Copyright 1991
    344 Pages
    by Routledge

    344 Pages
    by Routledge

    First published in 1991, The Greatest Happiness Principle traces the history of the theory of utility, starting with the Bible, and running through Plato, Aristotle, and Epicurus. It goes on to discuss the utilitarian theories of Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill in detail, commenting on the latter’s view of the Christianity of his day and his optimal socialist society. The book argues that the key theory of utility is fundamentally concerned with happiness, stating that discussions of happiness have been largely left out of discussions of utility, it also argues utility as a moral theory, posing the question ultimately, what is happiness?


    1. Happiness in the Bible

    2. The Role of Happiness in Plato and Aristotle

    3. Epicurus

    4. Bentham’s Theory of Utility

    5. John Rawls’ Non-Utilitarian Theory

    6. A New Theory of Utility


    A. Utility and Justice

    B: Henry Sidgwick’s Utilitarian Contributions

    C. Comments on Various Utilitarian Writers

    D. Glimpses of a Utilitarian Future

    E. Free Will and Determinism

    F. Teleologism-Deontologism, Consequentialism-Non-Consequentialism

    G. Why Happiness


    Supplementary Materials:

    "Mill’s Theory of Utility"

    Mill’s "Quality"

    Sidgwick’s Ethics


    Lanny Ebenstein