The Limits of Utilitarianism was first published in 1982. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.
Many philosophers have argued that utilitarianism is an unacceptable moral theory and that promoting the general welfare is at best only one of the legitimate goals of public policy. Utilitarian principles seem to place no limits on the extent to which society may legitimately interfere with a person's liberties - provided that such actions can be shown to promote the long-term welfare of its members. These issues have played a central role in discussions of utilitarianism since the time of Bentham and Mill. Despite criticisms, utilitarianism remains the most influential and widely accepted moral theory of recent times.
In this volume contemporary philosophers address four aspects of utilitarianism: the principle of utility; utilitarianism vis-à-vis contractarianism; welfare; and voluntary cooperation and helping others. The editors provide an introduction and a comprehensive bibliography that covers all books and articles published in utilitarianism since 1930.