Inspirational Utilitarianism Quotes & Sayings In Life

These utilitarianism quotes will inspire you. Utilitarianism is a family of normative ethical theories that prescribe actions that maximize happiness and well-being for all affected individuals.

A collection of motivating, happy, and encouraging utilitarianism quotes, utilitarianism sayings, and utilitarianism proverbs.

Best Utilitarianism Quotes

  1. “Actions are right in proportion as they tend to promote happiness; wrong as they tend to produce the reverse of happiness. By happiness is intended pleasure and the absence of pain.” ~ John Stuart Mill
  2. “To do as one would be done by, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, constitute the ideal perfection of utilitarian morality” ~ John Stuart Mill
  3. “Only those are called liberal or free which are concerned with knowledge; those which are concerned with utilitarian ends… are called servile…The question is… can man develop to the full as a functionary and a worker and nothing else; can a fully human existence be contained within an exclusively workaday existence? Stated differently and translated back into our terms: is there such a thing as a liberal art?” ~ Josef Pieper
  4. “I have a utilitarian approach to dressing; as long as I quite like it and it covers me up, I don’t care what it is.” ~ Jo Brand
  5. “I am a bike enthusiast; there’s a certain amount of romance to bikes. They’re both beautiful and utilitarian.” ~ Dave Eggers

  6. “A remarkable feature of the humanitarian movement, on both its sentimental and utilitarian sides, has been its preoccupation with the lot of the masses.” ~ Irving Babbitt
  7. “I do all the cooking in our family. I’m a utilitarian cook, rather than an adventurous one – I only have about 15 recipes in my repertoire that I rotate – but I love being able to go down to the river and catch a 30 lb. salmon, then grill it on the barbecue.” ~ Patrick Duffy
  8. “For us Africans, literature must serve a purpose: to expose, embarrass, and fight corruption and authoritarianism. It is understandable why the African artist is utilitarian.” ~ Ama Ata Aidoo
  9. “I’m a Utilitarian, so I don’t see the rule against lying as absolute; it’s always subject to some overriding utility which may prevent its exercise.” ~ Peter Singer
  10. “All punishment is mischief; all punishment in itself is evil.” ~ Jeremy Bentham

  11. “Nature has placed mankind under the government of two sovereign masters, pain and pleasure… they govern us in all we do, in all we say, in all we think: every effort we can make to throw off our subjection, will serve but to demonstrate and confirm it.” ~ Jeremy Bentham
  12. “A votary of ahimsa cannot subscribe to the utilitarian formula (of the greatest good of the greatest number). He will strive for the greatest good of all and die in the attempt to realize that ideal.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi
  13. “In other words, knowledge of the external world begins with an immediate utilization of things, whereas knowledge of self is stopped by this purely practical and utilitarian contact.” ~ Jean Piaget
  14. “Art is the most beautiful deception of all! And although people try to incorporate the everyday events of life in it, we must hope that it will remain a deception lest it become a utilitarian thing, sad as a factory.” ~ Claude Debussy
  15. “The ideas of a time are like the clothes of a season: they are as arbitrary, as much imposed by some superior will which is seldom explicit.” ~ Wyndham Lewis

  16. “A sort of war of revenge on the intellect is what, for some reason, thrives in the contemporary social atmosphere. The ideas of a time are like the clothes of a season: they are as arbitrary, as much imposed by some superior will which is seldom explicit. They are utilitarian and political, the instruments of smooth-running government.” ~ Wyndham Lewis
  17. “There is poetry even in prose, in all the great prose which is not merely utilitarian or didactic: there exist poets who write in prose or at least in more or less apparent prose; millions of poets write verses which have no connection with poetry.” ~ Eugenio Montale
  18. “It is unfortunately very true that, without leisure and money, love can be no more than an orgy of the common man. Instead of being a sudden impulse full of ardor and reverie, it becomes a distastefully utilitarian affair.” ~ Charles Baudelaire
  19. “Centuries of secularism have failed to transform eating into something strictly utilitarian. Food is still treated with reverence…To eat is still something more than to maintain bodily functions. People may not understand what that ‘something more’ is, but they nonetheless desire to celebrate it. They are still hungry and thirsty for sacramental life.” ~ Alexander Schmemann
  20. “Nature has placed mankind under the government of two sovereign masters, pain and pleasure.” ~ Jeremy Bentham

  21. “To be a utilitarian means that you judge actions as right or wrong in accordance with whether they have good consequences. So you try to do what will have the best consequences for all of those affected.” ~ Peter Singer
  22. “If I live to be old enough, I may sit down under some bush, the last left in the utilitarian world, and feel thankful that intellect in its march has spared one vestige of the ancient forest for me to die by.” ~ Thomas Cole
  23. “The elimination of horrible disease, the increase of the quality of lives (for humans and for animals) achieved through research using animals is so incalculably great that the argument of these critics, systematically pursued, establishes not their conclusion but its reverse: to refrain from using animals in biomedical research is, on utilitarian grounds, morally wrong.” ~ Carl Cohen
  24. “The ego must be able to listen attentively and to give itself, without any further design or purpose, to that inner urge toward growth. People living in cultures more securely rooted than our own have less trouble in understanding that it is necessary to give up the utilitarian attitude of conscious planning in order to make way for the inner growth of the personality.” ~ Marie-Louise von Franz
  25. “I think that in a lot of readers’ minds the essay is a lot more utilitarian than it is art.” ~ John D’Agata

  26. “Treading the soil of the moon, palpating its pebbles, tasting the panic and splendor of the event, feeling in the pit of one’s stomach the separation from Terra-these form the most romantic sensation an explorer has ever known . . . this is the only thing I can say about the matter. The utilitarian results do not interest me.” ~ Vladimir Nabokov
  27. “You might argue on utilitarian grounds that the best way for the world to work is for everybody to take care of themselves first. And people have made that argument. But I just think we would be so much better off if we could care for distant others even a little bit more.” ~ Paul Bloom
  28. “The crisis besetting America is not just an economic or political crisis; something deeper is wreaking havoc across the land, a mercenary and utilitarian attitude that demonstrates little empathy for people’s actual well-being, that dismisses imagination and thought, branding passion for knowledge as irrelevant.” ~ Azar Nafisi
  29. “In the temple of science are many mansions, and various indeed are they that dwell therein and the motives that have led them thither. Many take to science out of a joyful sense of superior intellectual power; science is their own special sport to which they look for vivid experience and the satisfaction of ambition; many others are to be found in the temple who have offered the products of their brains on this altar for purely utilitarian purposes.” ~ Albert Einstein
  30. “I’m not one of these people who thinks everybody’s gay.” ~ Andrew Sullivan

  31. “Somebody who eats twice as much factory-farmed products as he or she needs to is clearly doing twice as much damage to the planet. From a utilitarian point of view, that’s twice as bad.” ~ Peter Singer
  32. “I do not see why the axiom of Prudence should not be questioned, when it conflicts with present inclination, on a ground similar to that on which Egoists refuse to admit the axiom of Rational Benevolence. If the Utilitarian has to answer the question, ‘Why should I sacrifice my own happiness for the greater happiness of another?’ it must surely be admissible to ask the Egoist ‘Why should I sacrifice a present pleasure for a greater one in the future? Why should I concern myself about my own future feelings any more than about the feelings of other persons?'” ~ Henry Sidgwick
  33. “I would describe that [friendship with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras] as a utilitarian friendship. At the time, his country was facing the prospect of leaving the eurozone and many Greeks felt abandoned by Europe. In such a situation, it seemed appropriate to me to present myself as a friend to Greece. It had to do with the country’s dignity.” ~ Jean-Claude Juncker
  34. “Our society is so fragmented, our family lives so sundered by physical and emotional distance, our friendships so sporadic, our intimacies so ‘in-between’ things and often so utilitarian, that there are few places where we can feel truly safe.” ~ Henri Nouwen
  35. “I am indeed a hedonistic utilitarian. I have defended hedonistic utilitarianism for quite a while.” ~ Torbjorn Tannsjo

  36. “It was also her nature that caused her letters to avoid emotional pitfalls and confine themselves to relating the events of her daily life in the utilitarian style of a ship’s log. In reality, they were distracted letters, intended to keep the coals alive without putting her hand in the fire, while Florentino Ariza burned himself alive in every line.” ~ Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  37. “What interests me is the following paradox: of how, precisely in our liberal societies, where no one can even imagine a transcendental cause for which to die, we are allowed to adopt a hedonistic, utilitarian, or even more spiritually egotistical stance – like, the goal of my life is the realization of all my potential, fulfillment of my innermost desires, whatever you want.” ~ Slavoj Žižek
  38. “We call ours a utilitarian age, and we do not know the uses of any single thing. We have forgotten that water can cleanse, that fire can purify, and that the Earth is mother to us all.” ~ Oscar Wilde
  39. “[Science] is the literature of God written on the stars-the trees-the rocks-and more important because [of] its marked utilitarian character.” ~ James A. Garfield
  40. “Universities are the cathedrals of the modern age. They shouldn’t have to justify their existence by utilitarian criteria.” ~ David Lodge

  41. “[Aldous Huxley] compared the brain to a ‘reducing valve’. In ordinary perception, the senses send an overwhelming flood of information to the brain, which the brain then filters down to a trickle it can manage for the purpose of survival in a highly competitive world. Man has become so rational, so utilitarian, that the trickle becomes most pale and thin. It is efficient, for mere survival, but it screens out the most wondrous part of man’s potential experience without his even knowing it. We’re shut off from our own world.” ~ Tom Wolfe
  42. “But on a utilitarian level, I realize that to try to accomplish the greatest good for the greatest number of people, sometimes we have to become salesmen for what we believe, and part of being a salesman is being effective.” ~ Moby , Utilitarianism quotes a level
  43. “Forests, beyond offering us their plainly utilitarian wealth, have to perform vast physiological functions in the great economy of nature, by contributing predominantly in the empire of vegetation to the liberation of oxygen.” ~ Ferdinand von Mueller
  44. “Worship ought not to be construed in a utilitarian way. Its purpose is not to gain numbers nor for our church to be seen as successful. Rather, the entire reason for our worship is that God deserves it. (Worship) immerses us in the regal splendor of the King of the cosmos…provides opportunities for us to enjoy God’s presence in corporate ways that takes us out of time and into the eternal purposes of God’s kingdom. As a result, we shall be changed—but not because of anything we do. God, on whom we are centered and to whom we submit, will transform us by his Revelation of himself.” ~ Marva Dawn
  45. “More than its utilitarian and technocratic transparency, it is the opaque ambivalence of its oddities that makes the city livable.” ~ Michel de Certeau

  46. “The utilitarian behaves sensibly in all that is required for preservation but never takes account of the fact that he must die… His whole life is absorbed in avoiding death, which is inevitable, and therefore he might be thought to be the most irrational of men if rationality has anything to do with understanding ends or comprehending the human situation as such.” ~ Allan Bloom
  47. “In the social equation, the value of a single life is nil; in the cosmic equation, it is infinite… Not only communism, but any political movement which implicitly relies on purely utilitarian ethics, must become a victim to the same fatal error. It is a fallacy as naïve as a mathematical teaser, and yet its consequences lead straight to Goya’s Disasters, to the reign of the guillotine, the torture chambers of the Inquisition, or the cellars of the Lubianka.” ~ Arthur Koestler
  48. “Now that practical skills have developed enough to provide adequately for material needs, one of these sciences which are not devoted to utilitarian ends [mathematics] has been able to arise in Egypt, the priestly caste there having the leisure necessary for disinterested research.” ~ Aristotle
  49. “For the utilitarian, there is a fact of the matter about the good (the general happiness, or whatever conception of the good the utilitarian adopts) and about which actions or moral rules would contribute to maximizing the good. For the rational intuitionist, there are truths about which actions should be done and not done.” ~ Allen W. Wood
  50. “Design is not art. Design is utilitarian, art is not.” ~ Massimo Vignelli

  51. “For it is owing to their wonder that men both now begin and at first began to philosophize… They were pursuing science in order to know, and not for any utilitarian end.” ~ Aristotle
  52. “I’d be the first person to say I can’t write dialogue. My dialogue is very utilitarian and is designed to move things forward. I’m not Shakespeare. It’s not designed to be poetic.” ~ George Lucas
  53. “The skyscrapers began to rise again, frailly massive, elegantly utilitarian, images in their grace, audacity, and inconclusiveness, of the whole character of the people who produces them.” ~ Malcolm Muggeridge
  54. “The only constant in the soul of man is inconstancy; anything and everything else can pass out of fashion-even something as utilitarian as a hill stuffed full of corpses.” ~ Scott Lynch
  55. “The fault of the utilitarian doctrine is that it mistakes impersonality for impartiality.” ~ John Rawls

  56. “And the greatest praise to India is this: not only are her people beautiful; not only are her daily life and cult beautiful; but, in the midst of the utilitarian, humanitarian, dogmatic world of the present day, she keeps on proclaiming the outstanding value of Beauty for the sake of Beauty, through her very conception of Godhead, of religion and of life.” ~ Savitri Devi
  57. “No word meaning “art” occurs in Aivilik, nor does “artist”: there are only people. Nor is any distinction made between utilitarian and decorative objects. The Aivilik say simply, “A man should do all things properly.”” ~ Edmund Snow Carpenter
  58. “The nineteenth century, utilitarian throughout, set up a utilitarian interpretation of the phenomenon of life which has come down to us and may still be considered as the commonplace of everyday thinking. … An innate blindness seems to have closed the eyes of this epoch to all but those facts which show life as a phenomenon of utility” ~ Jose Ortega y Gasset
  59. “The idea of having more technology solving this idea of hyperactive lifestyle is not really the mainstream problem. I think the real innovation that’s going to be rewarded will be on things like, let’s convert our computers from being tools to being companions. Let’s convert our computers from being utilitarian to being enlightening. These are human needs.” ~ Horace Dediu
  60. “In a utilitarian age, of all other times, it is a matter of grave importance that fairy tales should be respected.” ~ Charles Dickens

  61. “Most of what I read is for reviewing purposes or related to something I want to write about. It’s slightly utilitarian. I definitely miss that sense of being a disinterested reader who’s reading purely for the pleasure of imagining his way into emotional situations and vividly realized scenes in nineteenth-century France or late nineteenth-century Russia.” ~ Pankaj Mishra
  62. “We thought [with Alix MacKenzie], if those are the kinds of pots from every culture that interest us, why would we think that it should be any different in mid-North America 20th century? And we decided then that our work would center around that sort of utilitarian pottery, and that’s what I’ve done ever since.” ~ Warren MacKenzie
  63. “The dreamer whose dreams are non-utilitarian has no place in this world. In this world, the poet is anathema, the thinker a fool, the artist an escapist, the man of vision a criminal.” ~ Henry Miller

  64. “Democracy is essentially a means, a utilitarian device for safeguarding internal peace and individual freedom. As such it is by no means infallible or certain. Nor must we forget that there has often been much more cultural and spiritual freedom under an autocratic rule than under some democracies and it is at least conceivable that under the government of a very homogeneous and doctrinaire majority democratic government might be as oppressive as the worst dictatorship.” ~ Friedrich August von Hayek
  65. “They will speak of things that are spiritual and beautiful and of things that are practical and utilitarian; they will mix up angels and engines, sunsets and spark plugs, fraternity and frequencies in one all-encompassing comradeship of interests that makes for the best and most lasting kind of friendship any man can have.” ~ Percy Knuth

Although different varieties of utilitarianism admit different characterizations, the basic idea behind all of them is, in some sense, to maximize utility, which is often defined in terms of well-being or related concepts.

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