Friday, 28 January 2011
Utilitarianism has developed over the years from Bentham's hedonic ideal, but there has always been a practical problem, how do you decide what decision maximises utility? This may be a simple problem to resolve if we all share common values and tastes but it is clear that we don't. Indeed one person's heaven may be an other's hell.
Interactive Democracy provides a way of gathering details on voters preferences for one thing over another, yet it fails to directly measure the degree of pleasure or pain that each person expects. This is captured by a second, though imperfect, mechanism: those with strong opinions have the opportunity to campaign for their point of view and effect the result of the ballot.
Utilitarianism oft seems to be about the apportion of utility between alternative courses of action but there is more to it than this: Interactive Democracy facilitates the development of new solutions, increasing the overall happiness of voters. Let's call it creative utilitarianism.