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- Driver, Julia, "The History of Utilitarianism", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2014 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/win2014/entries/utilitarianism-history/>.
- Sinnott-Armstrong, Walter, "Consequentialism", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2015 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/win2015/entries/consequentialism/>.
- Brink, David, "Mill's Moral and Political Philosophy", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2014 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/fall2014/entries/mill-moral-political/>.
- Hooker, Brad, "Rule Consequentialism", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2015 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/win2015/entries/consequentialism-rule/>.
- Macleod, Christopher, "John Stuart Mill", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2016 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), forthcoming URL = <http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/fall2016/entries/mill/>.
- Crimmins, James E., "Jeremy Bentham", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2015 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/spr2015/entries/bentham/>.
- Tomaselli, Sylvana, "Mary Wollstonecraft", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2016 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), forthcoming URL = <http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/fall2016/entries/wollstonecraft/>.
- Philp, Mark, "William Godwin", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Summer 2013 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/sum2013/entries/godwin/>.
For many online resources, see Utilitarianism, maintained by David Pearce, a British utililarian philosopher.
- Stephen Darwall, Consequentialism. Wiley Blackwell Readings in Philosophy. An exccellent anthology of classical and contemporary readings. Amazon.
- Julia Driver, Consequentialism. Amazon. One of the best introductions to consequentialist thought.
- Samuel Scheffler, The Rejection of Consequentialism. An incisive critique of the limits of consequentialism and a very reasonable alternative position. Amazon.
The classic texts for utilitarianism are those of Jeremy Bentham, John Stuart Mill, and Henry Sidgwick. Among Bentham’s works, see his The Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation, edited by J. H. Burns and H. L. A. Hart (London: Athline Press, 1970) and The Panopticon Writings, 2nd ed., ed. by Miran Boovi (Brooklyn, NY: Verso, 2011). For excellent introductions to Bentham’s moral and political thought, see Ross Harrison, Bentham (London: Routledge, 2009). Also see H. L. A. Hart, Essays on Bentham: Jurisprudence and Political Theory (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1982), and Philip Schofield, Utility and Democracy: The Political Thought of Jeremy Bentham (New York: Oxford, 2009).
Many of John Stuart Mill’s works are relevant, especially his Utilitarianism and On Liberty, as well as his Autobiography. These are available on the World Wide Web and in various bound editions, including several that also contain critical essays. For a brief but comprehensive overview of Mill’s thought, see Henry West, “Mill, John Stuart,” in Encyclopedia of Ethics, edited by Lawrence C. Becker and Charlotte B. Becker (New York: Garland Publishing, 1992), vol. 2, 809–16. Several of the editions of Mill’s Utilitarianism and On Liberty contain excellent collections of critical essays. For an excellent collections of essays on Mill’s Utilitarianism, see The Blackwell Guide to Mill’s Utilitarianism (Oxford: Blackwell, 2006); David Lyons, ed., Mill’s “Utilitarianism”: Critical Essays(Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 1997); Routledge Philosophy Guidebook to Mill on Utilitarianism, edited by Roger Crisp (London: Routledge, 1997) and Henry R. West, Mill’s “Utilitarianism”: A Reader’s Guide (London: Continuum, 2007). For essays on Mill’s On Liberty, see Mill’s On Liberty, edited by Gerald Dworkin (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 1997).
A good starting point for studying twentieth-century utilitarianism is J. J. C. Smart and Bernard Williams, Utilitarianism: For and Against (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1973), which contains an explication and defense of act utilitarianism by Smart and an interesting critique by Williams. The essay by Williams has been one of the most influential in raising the issues of moral alienation and integrity. One of the most nuanced and powerful replies to Williams and others on this issue is Peter Railton’s “Alienation, Consequentialism, and the Demands of Morality,”Philosophy & Public Affairs, 13, no. 2 (Spring 1984), 134–71. This essay, along with a number of other important pieces, has been reprinted in an excellent anthology Utilitarianism against Egalitarianism (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006).
For very reliable, brief oveviews of utilitarian thought, see David Lyons, “Utilitarianism,” in Encyclopedia of Ethics, edited by Lawrence C. Becker and Charlotte B. Becker (New York: Garland Publishing, 1992), vol. 2, 1261–68; Philip Pettit, “Consequentialism,” in A Companion to Ethics, edited by Peter Singer (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1991), 230–40. R. G. Frey’s “Act-Utilitarianism” and Brad Hooker’s “Rule-Consequentialism” are in The Blackwell Guide to Ethical Theory, edited by Hugh LaFollette (Oxford: Blackwell, 2000), 165–82 and 183–204, respectively. Online, see Walter Sinnott-Armstrong, “Consequentialism,” in The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (plato.stanford.edu/entries/consequentialism)/, which contains an excellent treatment of consequentialism in general and utilitarianism in particular. William H. Shaw’s Contemporary Ethics: Taking Account of Utilitarianism (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1999) is an excellent and highly readable introduction to both the theory and the application of utilitarianism. Robert E. Goodin provides a strong defense of a utilitarian approach to public policy issues in Utilitarianism as a Public Philosophy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995). For an overview of utilitarian thought that includes other traditions (including the Chinese), see Geoffrey Scarre, Utilitarianism (New York: Routledge, 1996). On intrinsic value, see Noah M. Lemos, Intrinsic Value: Concept and Warrant (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2009); also see Recent Work on Intrinsic Value (Library of Ethics and Applied Philosophy), edited by Toni Rønnow-Rasmussen and Michael J. Zimmerman (Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer, 2006). Recent works on consequentialism include the essays in Stephen Darwall’s Consequentialism (Wiley-Blackwell, 2002); Julia Driver, Consequentialism (London: Routledge, 2009); Douglas W. Portmore, Commonsense Consequentialism: Wherein Morality Meets Rationality (New York: Oxford, 2011).
Richard Brandt introduced the distinction between act and rule utilitarianism in his Ethical Theory (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1959). For a defense of rule utilitarianism, see Brad Hooker, Ideal Code, Real World: A Rule-Consequentialist Theory of Morality (Clarendon: Oxford University Press, 2000).
The discussion of utilitarianism often takes place within the context of a contrast with Kantian and other deontological accounts of morality. John Rawls’s “Two Concepts of Rules,” Philosophical Review, 64 (1955), 3–22, is an important attempt to reconcile partially these two traditions.