Utility monster

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A Utility monster is a hypothetical entity used by philosopher Robert Nozick in an argument against Utilitarianism.[1] A utility monster is a highly efficient consumer of resources: it gains enormous amount of pleasure (or, in economic terms, utility) from very small quantities of a particular resource. So for example, it may get 1000 times more pleasure out of drinking a sip of wine than a wine lover may get if let loose in a fine winery. As cardinal utilitarianism suggests that we allocate goods and resources so that we maximise the total or average amount of pleasure, given the existence of a utility monster we would be obliged to neglect the needs of human beings in favour of satisfying the monster, perhaps even to the extent of annihilating the human race.

  1. Anarchy, State and Utopia. Nozick, Robert.
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