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Some utilitarians respond by arguing that we really are morallyrequired to change our lives so as to do a lot more to increaseoverall utility (see Kagan 1989, P. Singer 1993, and Unger 1996). Suchhard-liners claim that most of what most people do is morally wrong,because most people rarely maximize utility. Some such wrongdoingmight be blameless when agents act from innocent or even desirablemotives, but it is still supposed to be moral wrongdoing. Opponents ofutilitarianism find this claim implausible, but it is not obvious thattheir counter-utilitarian intuitions are reliable or well-grounded(Murphy 2000, chs. 1–4; cf. Mulgan 2001).

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Rule utilitarianism faces several potential counterexamples (such aswhether public rules allowing slavery could sometimes maximize utility)and needs to be formulated more precisely (particularly in order toavoid collapsing into act-utilitarianism; cf. Lyons 1965). Suchdetails are discussed in another entry in this encyclopedia (seeHooker on rule-consequentialism). Here I just want to point out thatdirect consequentialists find it weird to judge a particular act bythe consequences of something else (Smart 1956). Why should mistakesby other doctors in other cases make this doctor's act morally wrong,when this doctor knows for sure that he is not mistaken in this case?Rule consequentialists can respond that we should not claim specialrights or permissions that we are not willing to grant to every otherperson, and that it is arrogant to think we are less prone to mistakesthan other people are. However, this doctor can reply that he iswilling to give everyone the right to violate the usual rules in therare cases when they do know for sure that violating those rulesreally maximizes utility. Anyway, even if rule utilitarianism accordswith some common substantive moral intuitions, it still seemscounterintuitive in other ways. This makes it worthwhile to considerhow direct consequentialists can bring their views in line with commonmoral intuitions, and whether they need to do so.

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So Mill rejects the substantive doctrines of psychological egoismand hedonism that Bentham and his father sometimes defended orsuggested. This is really part of a larger criticism of the conceptionof psychology and human nature underlying Benthamite utilitarianism,which Mill elaborates in his essays on Bentham. Mill's desire todistance himself from Benthamite assumptions about human nature andpsychology are also reflected in his conception of happiness and hisdoctrine of higher pleasures.

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Or one could hold that an act is right if it maximizes respect for(or minimizes violations of) certain specified moral rights. Suchtheories are sometimes described as a utilitarianism ofrights. This approach could be built into total consequentialismwith rights weighed against happiness and other values or,alternatively, the disvalue of rights violations could be lexicallyranked prior to any other kind of loss or harm (cf. Rawls 1971, 42).Such a lexical ranking within a consequentialist moral theory wouldyield the result that nobody is ever justified in violating rights forthe sake of happiness or any value other than rights, although it wouldstill allow some rights violations in order to avoid or prevent otherrights violations.

Consequentialism | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Charles Dickens Hard Times for These Times. The following entry presents criticism of Dickens's novel Hard Times (1854). See also Charles Dickens Short Story.
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“Mere dull melodrama”? MARY BARTON and HARD TIMES…

According to Michel Foucault, "Through language and thought, each period in history develops its own perceptions of the nature of reality (or what it defines as truth) and sets up its own acceptable and unacceptable standards of behavior" which he calls "episteme" (Bressler 242). Within the text of "Hard Times" Charles Dickens brings the reader an understanding of what was happening to the English society during the Victorian age....