The uselessness of "the greatest good for the greatest number" as a choice criterion

"To have understood the polymorphous character of pleasure and happiness is of course still rendered those concepts useless for utilitarian purposes; if the prospect of his or her own future pleasure or happiness cannot for the reasons which I have suggested provide criteria for solving the problem of action in the case of each individual, it follows that the notion of the greatest happiness for the greatest number is a notion without any clear content at all. It is indeed a pseudo-concept available for a variety of ideological uses, but no more than that. Hence when we encounter its use in practical life, it is always necessary to ask what actual project or purpose is being concealed by its use." -- Alasdair MacIntyre, After Virtue, p. 64

Comments

  1. Actually, it is also mathematically unfeasible.

    You can only maximize one variable, not two of them.

    It is either greatest good OR greatest number, but both are impossible.

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