Utilitarian Philosophers
The dictates of utility are neither more nor less than the dictates of the most extensive and enlightened (that is, well-advised) benevolence.
Jeremy Bentham

David Hume   ·   Jeremy Bentham   ·   William Godwin   ·   James Mill   ·   John Stuart Mill   ·   Henry Sidgwick   ·   R. M. Hare   ·   Peter Singer

Latest Updates
March 28, 2008
Please note: I apologize to regular visitors for the lack of updates in the past few months, but I no longer have the time to keep this website updated. I would be happy to hand it over to someone else who can give it the attention it requires. If you have some experience managing websites and feel like taking control of this one, please write me an email indicating briefly your abilities and interests, and I'll get back to you as soon as I can.
January 31, 2008
The Tenth Conference of the International Society for Utilitarian Studies will be held on 11-14 September 2008, at the University of California, Berkeley (Berkeley, California, U.S.A.). The meeting is co-hosted by the U.C. Berkeley School of Law and its Kadish Center for Morality, Law and Public Affairs.
The conference seeks paper and panel proposals concerning the study of utilitarianism and the utilitarian tradition broadly conceived. This includes scholarship (both positive and critical) on contemporary utilitarianism and consequentialism, as well as more wide-ranging scholarship concerning figures within the utilitarian canon and the leading social and political issues – such as democracy, law reform, political economy, welfare and equality, colonization and international law – which have figured centrally in the utilitarian tradition.
Scholars representing all disciplines in the humanities and social sciences are encouraged to participate. Past ISUS meetings have included faculty and graduate students in philosophy, political science, law, economics, history and literature. Conference highlights will include distinguished plenary lectures and panels, as well as monetary prizes awarded to the best graduate student papers presented at the meeting. Papers from younger faculty and advanced graduate students are encouraged.
The conference welcomes proposals for individual papers and encourages proposals for panels of 2-3 papers or round-table discussions linked to a common theme. All proposals should include a 200-word abstract for each paper and a 1-page C.V. for each participant, including current contact information and email address. Proposals for panels of papers and round tables also should include a brief précis of the panel topic as a whole. Please place the proposal and C.V. in electronic format and submit as an email attachment to: ISUS@ law.berkeley.edu.
The deadline for application is February 18, 2008. Notification of conference participation will be made by the end of March 2008. Additional information concerning the conference program and travel information is available at http://www.law.berkeley.edu/centers/kadish/isus/. Please send any inquiries concerning the conference or call for papers to: ISUS@ law.berkeley.edu.
January 18, 2008
[Peter Singer] Putting Practice into Ethics. The Sun, January 16, 2008.
[Peter Singer] Worshiping at the Temple of Diana. Free Inquiry, December, 2007/January, 2008.
[Peter Singer] Treating (or Not) the Tiniest Babies. Free Inquiry, June/July, 2007.
[Peter Singer] Abortion, the Dividing Lines. Herald Sun, August 25, 2007.
[Peter Singer] A Step in the Right Direction. (with Jenny Palmer) The Daily Princetonian, September 28, 2007.
December 25, 2007
[Peter Singer] Why Vote? Project Syndicate, December, 2007.
December 18, 2007
[Peter Singer] Eat Right: Save The Earth. LaGuardia Community College, December 17, 2007.
December 7, 2007
December 1, 2007
[John Stuart Mill] Just released: John Stuart Mill: Victorian Firebrand, by Richard Reeves.
November 12, 2007
[Peter Singer] Should We Talk About Race and Intelligence? Project Syndicate, November, 2007.
[Peter Singer] The High Cost of Feeling Low. Project Syndicate, October, 2007.
[Peter Singer] Saint Diana? Project Syndicate, September, 2007.
[Peter Singer] Is Doping Wrong? Project Syndicate, August, 2007.
[Peter Singer] Virtual Vices. Project Syndicate, July, 2007.
August 31, 2007
[Peter Singer] Of Dog Fights and Men. Interview with Ben Crair. The New Republic, August 29, 2007.
June 22, 2007
[Peter Singer] Ethics and World Poverty. Uehiro Lecture 3. University of Oxford, June 12, 2007.
[Peter Singer] Guess Who's Coming to Dinner? By Charlotte Laws. The Simon, June 21, 2007.
June 20, 2007
Tenth Conference of the International Society for Utilitarian Studies:
The Tenth Conference of the International Society for Utilitarian Studies will be held on 11-14 September 2008, at the University of California, Berkeley (Berkeley, California, U.S.A.). The meeting is hosted locally by the U.C. Berkeley Boalt Hall School of Law and its Kadish Center for Morality, Law and Public Affairs.
Conference highlights will include distinguished plenary lectures and panels devoted to a wide range of themes in moral and political philosophy, law, economics and intellectual history. Conference discussions will cover research in contemporary utilitarian theory, as well as more wide-ranging consideration of major figures within the utilitarian canon and of the leading social and political issues – such as democracy, law reform, welfare and equality – which have figured so centrally in the utilitarian tradition itself.
The University of California, Berkeley, is located in the beautiful San Francisco Bay area of northern California, and provides easy access to San Francisco and other regional attractions. Details concerning Conference meeting times and social program, as well as an open “Call for Papers”, will be distributed in autumn 2007. In the meantime, please save the date for ISUS X - 11-14 September 2008.
June 19, 2007
[Peter Singer] A Fair Deal on Climate Change. Project Syndicate, June, 2007.
June 11, 2007
[Peter Singer] Ethics and World Poverty. Uehiro Lecture. University of Oxford, June 5, 2007.
June 5, 2007
[Peter Singer] Ethics and World Poverty. Uehiro Lecture. University of Oxford, May 29, 2007.
June 3, 2007
[Peter Singer] “A man with plastic shoes and ironclad principles”. Interview with Peter Thompson. Talking Heads, May 28, 2007.
[Peter Singer] On Oudry, Animal Liberation, and Jailing Animal Activists as Terrorists. Interview with Dean Kuipers. Los Angeles CityBeat, June 3, 2007.
May 31, 2007
[Peter Singer] Humility Kills. Jewcy, May 24, 2007.
May 23, 2007
[Peter Singer] A Private Affair? Project Syndicate, May, 2007.
April 25, 2007
[Peter Singer] No Smile Limit. Project Syndicate, April, 2007.
March 21, 2007
[Peter Singer] Should We Trust Our Moral Intuitions? Project Syndicate, March, 2007.
[R. M. Hare] Richard Mervyn Hare, 1919-2002. By A. W. Price. Proceedings of the British Academy, 2004.
March 15, 2007
[Peter Singer] America the Hypocritical. Project Syndicate, February, 2007.
[Peter Singer] Learning from Henry Spira. (with Arlene Klotzko) Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics, 1999.
[Peter Singer] The Ethics and Economics of Heroic Surgery. (with Peter Ratiu) The Hastings Center Report, March-April, 2001.
[Peter Singer] Reconciling Impartial Morality and a Feminist Ethic of Care. (with H. Kuhse & M. Rickard) The Journal of Value Inquiry, December, 1998.
[Henry Sidgwick] Schultz's Sidgwick. By Anthony Skelton. Utilitas, March, 2007.
[Henry Sidgwick] Mill and Sidgwick, Imperialism and Racism. By Bart Schultz. Utilitas, March, 2007.
February 16, 2007
January 26, 2007
[Peter Singer] A Convenient Truth. The New York Times, January 26, 2007.
January 21, 2007
Felicifia, "an online community for all things related to the utilitarianism ethics system", has been recently launched by Seth Baum, a PhD student at Northeastern University.
January 20, 2007
[Peter Singer] Ethics and Intuitions. The Journal of Ethics, October, 2005.
January 19, 2007
[Peter Singer] The Right to Die. Project Syndicate, January, 2007.
January 7, 2007
[William Godwin] William Godwin: The Novel, Philosophy, and History. By Adam Rounce. History of European Ideas, March, 2007.
[William Godwin] Godwin, Fénelon, and the Disappearing Teacher. By Graham Allen. History of European Ideas, March, 2007.
[William Godwin] ‘Why May Not Man One Day Be Immortal?’ By Siobhan Ni. History of European Ideas, March, 2007.
[William Godwin] St. Leon and the Culture of the Heart. By Louise Joy. History of European Ideas, March, 2007.
[William Godwin] ‘The Vehicle He Has Chosen’. By David O’Shaughnessy. History of European Ideas, March, 2007.
January 6, 2007
[Peter Singer] Early Births Fade to Grey. The Australian, January 3, 2007.
January 3, 2007
Forthcoming talk by Richard Layard, Richer but not Happier. Forum at the London Review Bookshop. Tuesday 9 January, 7.00-8.30pm.
December 24, 2006
[Peter Singer] Questions for Peter Singer. The New York Times Magazine, December 24, 2006.
December 20, 2006
[Peter Singer] Singer Calls Kass Out at Princeton. Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies, December 16, 2006.
[Peter Singer] Pigs, Calves, and American Democracy. Project Syndicate, December, 2006.
[Peter Singer] Madonna and Child. Project Syndicate, November, 2006.
December 19, 2006
[Peter Singer] What Should a Billionaire Give – and What Should You? The New York Times Magazine, December 17, 2006.
December 8, 2006
[Peter Singer] Food, Ethics & the Environment. Princeton University, November 16, 2006.
[Peter Singer] Singer Statement Draws Groups' Ire. By Sarah Dajani. The Daily Princetonian, December 8, 2006.
December 3, 2006
[Peter Singer] Setting Limits on Animal Testing. The Sunday Times, December 3, 2006.
[Peter Singer] Monkey business. By Greg Neale. The Independent, December 3, 2006.
November 26, 2006
[Peter Singer] Q&A with Peter Singer. Interview with Kathleen McGinn. U.S. 1, November, 2006.
November 24, 2006
[Peter Singer] Abortion and Infanticide: A Critique of Peter Singer's Views. Debate with Don Marquis. Princeton University, March 29, 2006.
November 15, 2006
[Peter Singer] Food, Ethics & the Environment, conference at Princeton University (November 16-7, 2006). "The conference will explore the broad and compelling issues and ethical dilemmas surrounding food production in the United States and the choices individuals make regarding the food they eat."
November 13, 2006
[Henry Sidgwick] Updated version of Henry Sidgwick, by Bart Schultz, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (November 13, 2006).
October 31, 2006
[John Stuart Mill] Narrative, Imagination, and the Religion of Humanity in Mill's Ethics. By Colin Heydt. Journal of the History of Philosophy, 2006.
November 7, 2006
November 1, 2006
[Peter Singer] Singer Says. Interview with Catherine Clyne. Satya, October 6, 2006.
October 31, 2006
[Jeremy Bentham] Research on Well-Being: Some Advice from Jeremy Bentham. By David Collard. Philosophy of the Social Sciences, September, 2006.
[Jeremy Bentham] Just published: Utility and Democracy: The Political Thought of Jeremy Bentham (New York: Oxford University Press), by Philip Schofield.
[John Stuart Mill] Mill, Bentham and 'Internal Culture'. By Colin Heydt. British Journal for the History of Philosophy, May, 2006.
[John Stuart Mill] The Influence of Mary Bentham on John Stuart Mill. By Catherine Pease-Watkin. Journal of Bentham Studies, 2006.
October 30, 2006
[Peter Singer] Peter Singer in the Spotlight. Interview with Mark Franklin. Australian Jewish News, October 30, 2006.
October 29, 2006
[Peter Singer] Homosexuality is Not Immoral. Project Syndicate, October, 2006.
[Peter Singer] The Mixed Blessing of Genetic Choice. Project Syndicate, September, 2006.
[Peter Singer] Will the Polluters Pay for Climate Change? Project Syndicate, August, 2006.
[Peter Singer] The Great Ape Debate. Project Syndicate, May, 2006.
[Peter Singer] Why Pay More for Fairness? Project Syndicate, April, 2006.
[Peter Singer] Devaluing Life. Project Syndicate, January, 2006.
October 25, 2006
[Peter Singer] Food choices explored at conference, News@Princeton, October 25, 2006.
 
David Hume
www.utilitarian.net/hume
 
Born: May 7th, 1711; Edinburgh, Scotland
Died: April 25, 1776; Edinburgh, Scotland
 
Representative works: A Treatise of Human Nature (London, 1740), An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals (London, 1751), An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding (London, 1777)
www.utilitarian.net/bentham
 
Born: February 15th, 1748; Houndsditch, England
Died: June 6th, 1832; London, England
 
Representative works: A Fragment on Government (London, 1776), An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation (London, 1789), Deontology (London, 1834)
Jeremy Bentham
 
 
William Godwin
www.utilitarian.net/godwin
 
Born: March 3rd, 1756; Cambridgeshire, England
Died: April 7th, 1836; London, England
 
Representative works: An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Political Justice (London, 1793), Things as they are, or the Adventures of Caleb Williams (London, 1794), Thoughts on Man (London, 1831)
www.utilitarian.net/jmill
 
Born: April 6th, 1773; Forfarshire, Scotland
Died: June 23rd, 1836; London, England
 
Representative works: History of India (London, 1817), Elements of Political Economy (London, 1821), An Analysis of the Phenomena of the Human Mind (London, 1829)
James Mill
 
 
John Stuart Mill
www.utilitarian.net/jsmill
 
Born: May 20th, 1806; London, England
Died: May 8th, 1873; Avignon, France
 
Representative works: A System of Logic (London, 1843), On Liberty (London, 1859), Utilitarianism (London, 1863)
www.utilitarian.net/sidgwick
 
Born: May 31st, 1838; Yorkshire, England
Died: August 29th, 1900; Cambridgeshire, England
 
Representative works: The Methods of Ethics (London, 1874), The Principles of Political Economy (London, 1883), The Elements of Politics (London, 1891)
Henry Sidgwick
 
 
R. M. Hare
www.utilitarian.net/hare
 
Born: March 21st, 1919; Somerset, England
Died: January 29th, 2002; Oxfordshire, England
 
Representative works: The Language of Morals (Oxford, 1952), Freedom and Reason (Oxford, 1963), Moral Thinking (Oxford, 1981)
www.utilitarian.net/singer
 
Born: July 6, 1946; Melbourne, Australia
 
Representative works: Animal Liberation (New York, 1975), Practical Ethics (Cambridge, 1979), Rethinking Life and Death (Melbourne, 1994)
Peter Singer
 
 


It appeared to me obvious that the happiness of mankind should be the aim of all action, and I discovered to my surprise that there were those who thought otherwise. Belief in happiness, I found, was called Utilitarianism, and was merely one among a number of ethical theories. I adhered to it after this discovery.
Bertrand Russell