Surveying the historical development and the present condition of utilitarian ethics, Geoffrey Scarre examines the major philosophers from Lao Tzu in the fifth century BC to Richard Hare in the twentieth.
    Utilitarianism traces the 'doctrine of utility' from the moralists of the ancient world, through the Enlightenment and Victorian utilitarianism up to the lively debate of the present day.
    Utilitarianism today faces challenges on several fronts: it cannot warrant the drawing of adequate protective boundaries around the essential interests of individuals, and it does not allow them the space to pursue the personal concerns which give meaning to their lives. Geoffrey Scarre considers these and other charges, and concludes that whilst utilitarianism may not be a faultless moral doctrine, its positions are relevant, and significant today.
    Written with undergraduates in mind, this is an ideal course book for those studying and those teaching moral philosophy.

    Chapter I Introduction: The Character of the Theory; Chapter II Four Ancient Moralists; Chapter III Utilitarianism and Enlightenment; Chapter IV John Stuart Mill; Chapter V Some Later Developments; Chapter VI Happiness and Other Ends; Chapter VII Maximisation, Fairness and Respect for Persons; Chapter VIII Utilitarianism and Personality;


    Geoffrey Scarre is Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Durham. He is the author of Logic and Reality in the Philosophy of John Stuart Mill and the editor of Children, Parents and Politics.

    'This is an excellent introduction to and survey of utilitarianism, and important current in contemporary ethical theory.' - Philosophia, The Philosophical Quarterly of Israel, 27, 3-4 Nov.1999