Nature has placed mankind under the government of two sovereign masters, pain and pleasure... they govern us in all we do, in all we say, in all we think: every effort we can make to throw off our subjection, will serve but to demonstrate and confirm it.

— Jeremy Bentham

Unexpected Utilitarian quotations

Design is not art. Design is utilitarian, art is not.

For us Africans, literature must serve a purpose: to expose, embarrass, and fight corruption and authoritarianism. It is understandable why the African artist is utilitarian.

Nature has placed mankind under the government of two sovereign masters, pain and pleasure.

Now that practical skills have developed enough to provide adequately for material needs, one of these sciences which are not devoted to utilitarian ends [mathematics] has been able to arise in Egypt, the priestly caste there having the leisure necessary for disinterested research.

It is unfortunately very true that, without leisure and money, love can be no more than an orgy of the common man. Instead of being a sudden impulse full of ardor and reverie, it becomes a distastefully utilitarian affair.

If I live to be old enough, I may sit down under some bush, the last left in the utilitarian world, and feel thankful that intellect in its march has spared one vestige of the ancient forest for me to die by.

...the rarest of all human qualities is consistency.

Happiness is a very pretty thing to feel, but very dry to talk about.

To be a utilitarian means that you judge actions as right or wrong in accordance with whether they have good consequences. So you try to do what will have the best consequences for all of those affected.

The problem I see with utilitarianism, or any form of consequentialism, is not that it gets the wrong answers to moral questions. I think just about any moral theory, worked out intelligently, and applied with good judgment, would get just about the same results as any other.

I do all the cooking in our family. I'm a utilitarian cook, rather than an adventurous one - I only have about 15 recipes in my repertoire that I rotate - but I love being able to go down to the river and catch a 30 lb. salmon, then grill it on the barbecue.

Our society is so fragmented, our family lives so sundered by physical and emotional distance, our friendships so sporadic, our intimacies so 'in-between' things and often so utilitarian, that there are few places where we can feel truly safe.

More than its utilitarian and technocratic transparency, it is the opaque ambivalence of its oddities that makes the city livable.

It is better to be a human being dissatisfied than a pig satisfied;

better to be Socrates dissatisfied than a fool satisfied. And if the fool, or the pig, are of a different opinion, it is because they only know their own side of the question.

Childhood is not merely basic training for utilitarian adulthood.

It should have some claims upon our mercy, not for its future value to the economic interests of competitive societies but for its present value as a perishable piece of life itself.

The fault of the utilitarian doctrine is that it mistakes impersonality for impartiality.

What the Net does is shift the emphasis of our intelligence, away from what might be called a meditative or contemplative intelligence and more toward what might be called a utilitarian intelligence. The price of zipping among lots of bits of information is a loss of depth in our thinking.

The crisis besetting America is not just an economic or political crisis;

something deeper is wreaking havoc across the land, a mercenary and utilitarian attitude that demonstrates little empathy for people’s actual well-being, that dismisses imagination and thought, branding passion for knowledge as irrelevant.

In other words, knowledge of the external world begins with an immediate utilisation of things, whereas knowledge of self is stopped by this purely practical and utilitarian contact.

Utilitarianism had found [in Samuel Smiles' Self-Help] its portrait gallery of heroes, inscribed with a vigorous exhortation to all men to strive in their image; this philistine romanticism established the bourgeois hero-prototype the penniless office-boy who works his way to economic fortune and this wins his way into the mercantile plutocracy.

Ideas, like men, can become dictators.

We Americans have so far escaped regimentation by our rulers, but have we escaped regimentation by our own ideas? I doubt if there exists today a more complete regimentation of the human mind than that accomplished by our self-imposed doctrine of ruthless utilitarianism.

Dostoevsky believed that the gods of rationalism and materialist utilitarianism had joined in conspiracy against all other ethical systems. ... The accumulation of capital, or the acquisition of money, are endeavors par excellence which establish a quantifiable goal: hence they are directly amenable to maximization formulae.

I'm a Utilitarian, so I don't see the rule against lying as absolute;

it's always subject to some overriding utility which may prevent its exercise.

The American Revolution was, in fact, a battle against the philosophy of Locke and the English utilitarians.

The moves to contractualism and utilitarianism required some extra ingredients besides mortalism, the denial that God is in charge of the world, and the doctrine that physical and psychological pain are the greatest evils.

Universities are the cathedrals of the modern age.

They shouldn't have to justify their existence by utilitarian criteria.

The church is challenging such negative cultural elements as superstition, rugged individualism, materialism, hedonism, permissiveness and utilitarianism.

Business or toil is merely utilitarian. It is necessary but does not enrich or ennoble a human life.

The skyscrapers began to rise again, frailly massive, elegantly utilitarian, images in their grace, audacity and inconclusiveness, of the whole character of the people who produces them.

We call ours a utilitarian age, and we do not know the uses of any single thing.

We have forgotten that water can cleanse, that fire can purify, and that the Earth is mother to us all.

The dreamer whose dreams are non-utilitarian has no place in this world.

In this world the poet is anathema, the thinker a fool, the artist an escapist, the man of vision a criminal.

A remarkable feature of the humanitarian movement, on both its sentimental and utilitarian sides, has been its preoccupation with the lot of the masses.

There is poetry even in prose, in all the great prose which is not merely utilitarian or didactic: there exist poets who write in prose or at least in more or less apparent prose; millions of poets write verses which have no connection with poetry.

I am indeed a hedonistic utilitarian. I have defended hedonistic utilitarianism for quite a while.