more from Jonathan Wolff

Single Idea 20490

[catalogued under 24. Political Theory / B. Nature of a State / 2. State Legitimacy / c. Social contract]

Full Idea

On the utilitarian account the state is justified if and only if it produces more happiness than any alternative. Whether we consent to the state is irrelevant.

Gist of Idea

For utilitarians, consent to the state is irrelevant, if it produces more happiness


Jonathan Wolff (An Introduction to Political Philosophy (Rev) [2006], 2 'Intro')

Book Reference

Wolff,Jonathan: 'An Introduction to Political Philosophy (Rev)' [OUP 2006], p.35

A Reaction

The paternalistic character of utilitarianism is a familiar problem. I quite like this approach, even though liberals will find it a bit naughty. We make children go to school, for their own good. Experts endorse society, even when citizens don't.