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Call For Papers
 

Two Centuries of Utilitarianism

Deadline: December 02, 2008

title: "Two Centuries of Utilitarianism"
submission deadline: 02 December 2008
description:

Utilitarianism remains largely misunderstood in France where it has been reduced to a couple of caricatured position which disparage its image. This attitude is at odds with a number of dominant theories taken mostly from the English speaking world which grant utilitarianism a privileged status: either as a source of inspiration or as a rival concept. From a theoretical point of view, it represents a major tradition and philosophical benchmark. From a practical point of view, it ranks among the most influential ethical and legal doctrines.

Thinkers developed utilitarian thought in the fields of ethics and ontology from Antiquity onwards. But utilitarianism, in its contemporary sense, emerges with Jeremy Bentham who expresses it in his principle of utility. It aims to “maximize the greatest happiness of the greatest number.” Bentham then systematizes its application, broadens its scope and establishes it as the primary principle of his philosophical system in the Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation first published in 1789.

For utilitarian thinkers, ethics is founded upon the idea that the moral value of an action is determined by its potential to increase or reduce general happiness. In addition to being a moral theory, utilitarianism also applies to several practical and theoretical fields including politics, law, the philosophy of action, economics, and sociology.

This conference aims to examine on the one hand the roots of utilitarianism and on the other its legacy, evolution and development. More than two hundred years after the Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation, what has become of utilitarianism? What has become of Bentham’s emblematic concepts: “felicific calculus,” happiness, pleasure, well-being, and the panopticon? Is it true that, in the words of Tim Mulgan, “perhaps the most important question dividing utilitarians is the definition of happiness or ‘well-being’ or ‘utility’ or ‘whatever makes life worth living.’”? (Understanding Utilitarianism, Stocksfield: Acumen, 2007)

date : 04-05 June 2009
location:  Université de Rennes II, 6 avenue Gaston Berger, 35000 Rennes, France
contact information: emiliedardenne@yahoo.fr
URL:
additional information:

Keynote Speakers

Catherine Audard, London School of Economics

Tim Mulgan, University of St Andrews (to be confirmed)

Fred Rosen, University College London

Philip Schofield, University College London

Erratic Impact is not responsibile for the content or accuracy of any CFP information.

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