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Ivan Supek’s utilitarianism

Tomislav Bracanović orcid id ; Institut za filozofiju, Zagreb, Hrvatska

Puni tekst: hrvatski pdf 364 Kb

str. 347-377

preuzimanja: 296



The paper discusses how Ivan Supek should be classified when it comes to his ethical views. The answer offered and sought to corroborate is that he should be classified as a utilitarian or at least as very close to utilitarianism. The paper analyzes a number of claims from Supek’s various writings and compares them with the paradigmatic claims of prominent utilitarians from John Stuart Mill to Peter Singer. It turns out, for example, that Supek believed that consequences are significant in evaluating our actions, that Kant’s ethics is unsuitable for resolving concrete moral dilemmas, that the universality of ethics could only be achieved if it included elements of both rationality and empathy, and that solidarity – in terms of the duty to help – from commitment to our immediate community should extend to all people. These and many other typically utilitarian claims strongly point towards the conclusion that Supek was committed to some version of utilitarianism. The paper also discusses two possible objections to the thesis of Supek’s utilitarianism: the objection that Supek considered himself a humanist and not a utilitarian and the objection that he openly criticized utilitarianism in several places. The first objection is hardly fatal to the thesis of Supek’s utilitarianism because humanism and utilitarianism share a large number of central features. The second objection is also hardly fatal because Supek’s critique of utilitarianism, as it is shown by an additional analysis of his writings, was based upon his relatively poor knowledge of some more intricate details of the tradition of utilitarian ethics.

Ključne riječi

Ivan Supek; humanism; consequences; utilitarianism; universality of ethics

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Podaci na drugim jezicima: hrvatski

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