Journal of Philosophy, Inc.Utilitarianism and WelfarismAuthor(s): Amartya SenSource: The Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 76, No. 9 (Sep., 1979), pp. 463-489Published by: Journal of Philosophy, Inc.Stable URL: .Accessed: 11/09/2013 14:52Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at..JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range ofcontent in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new formsof scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact [email protected].Journal of Philosophy, Inc.is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to The Journalof Philosophy.This content downloaded from 22.214.171.124 on Wed, 11 Sep 2013 14:52:57 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
THE JOURNAL OF PHILOSOPHY VOLUME LXXVI, NO. 9, SEPTEMBER 1979 UTILITARIANISM AND WELFARISM * "S OME of the unacceptable features of utilitarianism," ar- gues Bernard Williams, "are to be traced to its general L character as a form of consequentialism." 1 In this paper I shall be concerned with those features which cannot be traced to consequentialism. The intention is to provide a critique of util- itarianism without disputing the acceptability of consequentialism. The scope of such a critique will, naturally, depend on how narrowly the consequences are characterized and how broadly util- ity is defined. It is possible to define things in a way that makes a teleologist necessarily a utilitarian in a broad sense, as in the following statement of David Lyons: "Teleologists claim that the rightness of acts depends solely upon their utility, that is, upon their contribution towards intrinsically good states of affairs." 2 In contrast, in this paper I shall be concerned with investigating the relationship between goodness of states of affairs and the utility characteristics of those states. Utility will be taken to stand for a person's conception of his own well-being, and although this would still permit alternative interpretations in terms of "pleasure" and "desire," there is no definitional link with the "goodness of states of affairs." That link will be treated as an open moral issue. In section i various utilitarian structures will be examined. A principle that seems to be shared by all variants of utilitarianism (such as act and rule utilitarianism) identifies the goodness of a * I have greatly benefited from many illuminating discussions with Derek Parfit, from the comments on an earlier draft by Ronald Dworkin and Richard Hare, and from helpful remarks by Jonathan Glover, Martin Hollis, Frederic Schick, and Charles M. Taylor.