Utilitarian alternatives to Act Utilitarianism


  • Sanford S. Levy


One problem for any utilitarian alternative to act utilitarianism, such as rule utilitarianism, is the feeling that act utilitarianism is the most natural form of utilitarianism. Other forms seen unmotivated, inconsistent, or irrational. This argument is found in Smart, Foot and Slote. It turns on the assumption that utilitarianism must be motivated by the “teleological motivation”, the idea that one must derive one's entire moral theory from the notion of the good. I respond that act utilitarianism itself has a problem from the point of view of the teleological motivation, a problem solved, surprisingly, by several utilitarian alternatives including rule utilitarianism.