why maximization

Utilitarianism claims that we should promote the good, and it claims that more of the good is always better: we should maximize. But why should we think that morality is something that admits of a more-is-always-better logic.

If I’m cooking a cake, sugar is good, but more sugar is not always better. The ingredients of the cake have to be in the right proportion and the proportions and the ingredients change depending on what I’m making. It seems that morality might be the same way. If something is good, it often derives its goodness from being limited and in proper relationship to other parts, as in sugar in a cake.

Simply put, moral rightness might be more like a cake in that it requires the combination of many things in the right proportions: autonomy, equality, utility. Synergy rather than maximization should be the goal.


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