Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE (www.oxfordhandbooks.com). © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 25 April 2019

Abstract and Keywords

As a criterion for state action, utilitarianism faces the difficulty that it permits the expectations of some to be overridden for the benefit of others. Neither Bentham’s felicific calculus nor the related cost-benefit analysis can justify the coercion needed for state action. Social welfare functions, including those that incorporate Rawls’s difference principle, face the same difficulty as utilitarianism. One way of resolving this problem is to move to a constitutional framework of constrained utilitarianism, under which only policies that violate no one’s reasonable expectations are considered. To ensure that no one will have a reasonable basis for objecting, there must be a Tieboutian opportunity for dissenters to form their own polities.

Keywords: constrained utilitarianism, Tiebout, justified coercion, felicific calculus, potential compensation test, social welfare function, difference principle, constitutional framework

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.