From the March/April, 2011 issue of Touchstone
The Utilitarian Prince by Daniel Propson

The Utilitarian Prince

Tolstoy’s Stepan Oblonsky & the Pleasure Principle That Doesn’t Work

by Daniel Propson

Any reasonably perceptive individual has probably noticed, if only subconsciously, that some moral actions have bad results. Punctuality, for example, can be tremendously inefficient; honesty can cause pain; diligence can cause frustration. For the moment, let us ignore the question of whether these consequences are bad in context. We can certainly admit that they are bad in isolation.

Some ethicists seize on these bad consequences and argue that punctuality, honesty, and diligence are not virtuous in themselves, bu . . .


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