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catalogue – 43669
Until 01.01.2019 - Scientific Yearbook of the Institute of Philosophy and Law of the Ural Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences

ISSN 2686-7206 (Print)

ISSN 2686-925X (Оnlinе)

Platonov Roman
The article sets a goal to define the meanings of moral universality in the ethics of classical utilitarianism, to establish their differences and connections, to show the significance of universality in the utilitarian method of moral calculation. Since the problem of moral universality was not set as part of utilitarianism, i.e. it is not shown in any theoretical provisions, we use the contextual analysis method of the use of words “universal”, “general”, “absolute”, “common” and so on when moral values and rules are describing in the key works of J. Bentham and J.S. Mill (“An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation”, “Utilitarianism”, “On Liberty”). As a starting point of the research, we take the classification of meaning differences of moral universality (it was done by R.G. Apresyan): universality as absoluteness, as ubiquity, and as generalization of moral values and rules. We show that both philosophers, in one way or another, used all three meanings in their arguments, but all three are conceptually significant only in J.S. Mill’s ethics. Absoluteness characterizes the primary principle (the principle of utility) and defines ethics as knowledge aimed at the search for moral truth. Ubiquity reflects the variability of moral values and rules and the fact that local cultural experience limits them. Generalization is a method of moral calculation whereby every action must be correlated with the principle of utility. At the same time, J.S. Mill, in contrast to J. Bentham, does not deny the importance of generality and complements it with “universal experience”, i.e. the experience of humanity as a species. Thus, he reveals moral values and rules not only in the aspect of locality and variability, but also in the aspect of fundamental skills of interaction of people with each other, skills of building any community. It also allowshim to supplement the method of moral calculation with generalizing concrete rules without giving them the status of absoluteness, he accepts them as an important heuristic component of moral development. The connection of the three meanings of universality is found in the expression of dominance: absoluteness as moral truth, ubiquity as recognition, generalization as inclusion of the particular in the general, all of it express the claims of moral evaluation to priority over any other types of evaluations and rules. It is concluded that the problem of universality is fundamental for the development of the method of moral calculation, and that it is revealed as fully as possible in the ethics of classical utilitarianism.
Keywords: ethics; morality; utilitarianism; universality; absoluteness; ubiquity; universalizability; generalization; J. Bentham; J.S. Mill.
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