The utilitarianism is established as a teaching philosophy that places the utility as a moral value. It is conceptualized as an ethical system where what determines the moral concept is the basis of the final result.


What is utilitarianism?

It is related to hedonism , however, utilitarianism is an important branch within philosophical theories , where it is applied on moral bases, implying them as behaviors that promote the happiness of being. It is made up of two basic elements to establish utilitarianism: the first is the way of relating to the environment , doing good with happiness and the second is consequentialism , where unlike other philosophical doctrines they define it as the good intentions that the individual possesses when it comes to identifying actions as an aspect to judge the good and bad of an action.

  • Meaning
  • History of utilitarianism
  • Founder
  • features
  • Types of utilitarianism
  • Utilitarianism in economics
  • Political utilitarianism
  • Legal utilitarianism
  • critics
  • Importance
  • Representatives
  • Plays


Utilitarianism has several definitions, but in short it refers to the well-being of human beings . The term originates from the Latin language and is composed of two parts: the first utilitas, which is defined in Spanish as useful quality, and the second is a suffix ismo that translates as doctrine.


In depth it is applied to the philosophical currents in which they associate the good with the useful, regardless of whether it refers to the individual or a society ; it is still considered as a moral criterion and is established as a basis for good and happiness.

History of utilitarianism

Its beginnings are marked between the 18th and 19th centuries in England by Jeremy Betham , where he discovers in a very easy way that he was totally opposed to the reforms dictated by his rulers , which he considered to only favor his interests , without showing importance for the social or majority good.

This was a man who had a high degree of understanding and reason about his feelings. Its cornerstone of knowledge is based on the hedonism of psychology , which implies that human beings are guided by their sensations to avoid pain and always seek what is pleasant or pleasant.


Jeremy Betham, who is considered the father of Utilitarianism. John Stuart Mill , his pupil, is the one who finished laying the foundations of it.


The main characteristics of utilitarianism are:

  • It seeks to establish a relationship where the moral acts of man, whatever their condition, are directly related to decision-making.
  • It establishes that every good moral action represents a good action for both being and society, becoming a state of happiness and well-being for the individual.
  • Seeks that the man through a moral discernment can determine if the decisions made by other individuals or by himself, are good or bad, depending on the context.

Types of utilitarianism

The utilitarianism of acts or norms

It is the classic and traditional form of utilitarianism where it is established that the best acts that define the individual are those that provide the greatest utility : This includes not only acts, but also includes the wishes or dispositions of the being as well as rewards and punishments.

Negative utilitarianism

It seeks to defend the preferences of the minimum production to favor a large number of people, where it is about preventing the greatest amount of pain to favor a large number of people; In this sense, it is considered the most effective when it comes to favoring a specific group of people.

Utilitarianism of preference

This is defined as a term of preference to utility to satisfy the individual or society. Here it is determined that the most useful is when the right thing is done and triggers good consequences .

Ideal utilitarianism

This establishes the recognition of beauty, pleasures, friendships and their pleasures as the actions that utilitarianism must seek and maximize.

Utilitarianism in economics

Within the economy, it is linked to the case of politics , since it seeks not only to support and strengthen private property , such as companies, businesses, works, but also people who request support from banks for natural reasons, as financial support, loans for home or vehicles.

Political utilitarianism

In the political area, populist movements seek to neutralize democracy to directly end the elitist cusps within the diplomatic corps, which always seek to keep favoring a certain sector. When these populist movements take power they begin to pay full attention to the requests of the people and the workers who make up union groups. This is because these political parties or movements are based on doing what is best for the people.

Legal utilitarianism

In the legal area , it is seen very little represented, since each country contains its own system of laws for which each one is governed differently, however, most of the judges worldwide have cases where they are inclined to take by decisions what he considers morally correct in the verdicts of the accused.


Critics who specialize in the area consider that this vision is fraught with problems, for example, the great difference in the term utility between one person and another.


Idealism has played an important role during history , currently where it is most evident is within politics where debates are held between what is good and what is morally good for a nation such as the case of Kishner in Argentina or the topic of debate about the crisis in Venezuela on the actions to be taken.


Some representatives of utilitarianism are:

  • James rachels
  • Immanuel Kant
  • John Rawls JC Smart
  • M. Hare
  • Vincent de Gournay


  • System of logic (1843)
  • Chestomathia (1816)
  • Panopticon (1791)
  • Principles of Political Economy (1848)
  • On Liberty (1869)
  • Introducation to the principles of morals and legislation (1834)

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