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Academic Journal of Humanities & Social Sciences, 2024, 7(6); doi: 10.25236/AJHSS.2024.070605.

Discussion on Utilitarianism and Rights


Yang Jikai

Corresponding Author:
Yang Jikai

Guilin University of Electronic Technology, Guilin, China


According to the utilitarian theory of conduct in normative ethics, the rightness or wrongness of an act depends on whether it meets the requirements of the principle of utility, i.e., whether it maximizes social benefits. However, behavioral utilitarianism may allow the violation of fundamental rights to promote short-term efficiency in some cases, which is in conflict with the widespread practice of rights protection in modern social life. In contrast, rule-based utilitarianism asserts that the object of evaluation of utilitarian principles is rules. We should first formulate rules based on principles, and then determine the rightness or wrongness of specific behaviors based on rules. In this way, utilitarianism can theoretically accommodate the institutional practice of legal protection of rights.


Utilitarianism, individual rights, freedom and equality

Cite This Paper

Yang Jikai. Discussion on Utilitarianism and Rights. Academic Journal of Humanities & Social Sciences (2024) Vol. 7, Issue 6: 26-30. https://doi.org/10.25236/AJHSS.2024.070605.


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