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Creative Potential Ethics

Introduction

Questions of right and wrong have been on the minds of philosophers since antiquity. Many theories have been constructed. Among the most elegant is utilitarianism, developed by Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill. The idea is simple: the right action is the one that produces the greatest happiness for everyone. The theory comes with its problems, however. How do we define ‘happiness’? How do we assess everyone’s happiness in a practical manner? Not in the least, utilitarian reasoning would suggest that it is sometimes justified to violate the rights of the individual for the benefit of the masses.

We propose to replace greatest happiness with greatest creative potential as the principal criterion for rightness. We will show that most of utilitarianism’s problems no longer apply. We will discuss how creative potential is related to personal freedom, and to human emotions.

Contents | Forward to History of Utilitarianism