more from Brad W. Hooker

Single Idea 20884

[catalogued under 23. Ethics / E. Utilitarianism / 5. Rule Utilitarianism]

Full Idea

For rule-utilitarians acts of murder, torture and so on, can be impermissible even in rare cases where they really would produce better consequences than any alternative act.

Gist of Idea

Rule-utilitarians prevent things like torture, even on rare occasions when it seems best


Brad W. Hooker (Rule Utilitarianism and Euthanasia [1997], 4)

Book Reference

'Ethics in Practice (2nd Ed)', ed/tr. LaFollette,Hugh [Blackwell 2002], p.25

A Reaction

It is basic to rule-utilitarianism that it trumps act-ulitilarianism, even when a particular act wins the utilitarian calculation. But that is hard to understand. Only long-term benefit could justify the rule - but that should win the calculation.