Utilitarianism as an Approach to Ethical Decision Making in Health Care

  • Heike FelzmannEmail author


This chapter outlines core characteristics of Utilitarianism and explores them with regard to their significance in healthcare settings. It presents Utilitarianism as characterised by the following five features: (1) consequentialism, (2) welfarism, (3) equality of moral status and impartiality, (4) maximisation, (5) aggregation. It explains the theoretical underpinnings of each of these characteristics, while illustrating them with regard to issues arising in the nursing and wider healthcare context. The chapter concludes with an outline of common themes and considerations in Utilitarian writings with significance for nursing and healthcare practice.


Utilitarianism John Stuart Mill Nursing Ethics 


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© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Philosophy, School of Humanities and COBRANational University of IrelandGalwayIreland

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