Utilitarianism

UTILITARIANISM. The name of the peculiar theory of Ethics, or of the ground of moral obligation, that adopts, as the criterion of right, the happiness of mankind; or, as Jeremy Bentham defined it, "the greatest happiness of the greatest number." It is opposed to the view that founds moral distinctions on the mere arbitrary will of God. The most eminent modern advocates of Utilitarianism are Hume, Bentham, Paley, James Mill, John Stuart Mill, Sir James Mackintosh, John Austin, Samuel Bailey, Herbert Spencer, and Bain.