Sacramentum Mundi Online

Get access

(978 words)

1. Concept. Utilitarianism, from the Latin utile, expedient, is the name, given to the theory of ethics which judges the moral value of an action by its contribution to “the greatest happiness of the greatest number”. Its opposite is the ethics which regards an action as good because it belongs to a definite class of actions, i.e., as valuable in itself and not only by reason of its consequences. Insofar as utilitarianism maintains that the only self-justifying value which man can strive for is pleasu…

Cite this page
Gerd Haeffner, “Utilitarianism”, in: Sacramentum Mundi Online, General Editor Karl Rahner, SJ. Consulted online on 21 September 2023 <>
First published online: 2016

▲   Back to top   ▲