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 t 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, the book serves as an ideal companion to study of this most influential and challenging of philosophical concepts.
Krister Bykvist is a Fellow and Tutor in Philosophy at Jesus College, University of Oxford, UK.