a utilitarian’s ‘should’

A utilitarian should be clear where they get their ‘should’ from; it is not entirely clear to me, but I need to read up on it more – it probably should be quite obvious given the popularity of the doctrine.

I can see how it makes some sense in the context of public policy making by democratically elected bodies – they’re elected to maximise the good for the ones voting for them. Underlying this is a conditional – if we want to achieve the maximum good/wellbeing, then we should …

However, I don’t see why the first part of the conditional is simply ‘rational’ or obvious to hold to without importing further moral considerations. As such, I struggle to see why (absent the existence of moral facts rather than merely scientific-esque facts about wellbeing) people would be obliged to act on utilitarian reasoning when it doesn’t maximise their own wellbeing.

I’ll hopefully work more on this at some later stage, but that’s the gist of my worry, for now.

Here’s a bunny – it seems to relate to utility in some way!


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