Although it is common to draw a sharp distinction between justice and utility, utilitarians themselves vigorously dispute the validity of this antithesis and claim that utilitarianism can account for the significance of justice as a subordinate ethical and political standard whose importance can be explained by the ultimate ethical principle that the right act is that which maximizes overall utility. In contrast, non-utilitarians often ascribe to justice those moral judgements which are routinely used to curb the application of utilitarian reasoning, while some go so far as to define ‘justice’ as a distributive ideal which totally excludes the aggregative goal of bringing about the greatest quantity of good (see pp. 2–20).
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