programme, but they disagree about why this is the case.
Similarly, we know from the history of political thought that utilitarians
have been among the most vocal and influential champions of individual
liberty (Mill, 1985 ). However, once again, the utilitarian commitment to rights of liberty is conditional: we should protect rights of liberty,
but only insofar as, in doing so, we best promote utility.
Sharing lives, shaping values, and voluntary civic education233
We have also referred to the utilitarianapproach to moral conflict (see
Chapter 3). As we saw
utilitarian can be understood as an expression of an underlying ontology. (For example, Dworkin in Taking Rights Seriously (1977) argues for the integrity of legislation and principle.) Or the utilitarianapproach can assume that it grasps, not a universal ontology of the human, but the principles of modern rational social progress. Within broadly liberal institutions, in practice at least, the two approaches often work in tandem.
The language of universal human rights imagines it is talking to and for all the world, calling on both the persistence
Rights (1948) gives some indication of this practical complementarity between contractarian and utilitarianapproaches to rights. The language of the Universal Declaration is contractarian. The more frequent justification within UN and national policy-making bodies for upholding the rights standards set out in the Universal Declaration, however, is that most states have signed it, this signatory process being part of the essential procedures for establishing reasonable parameters of international order. The fund of imagery is contractarian while the language of
paternalistic power, as utilitarianism shows that the duty to promote well-being is the fundamental moral
claim. What is distinctive about this approach is that no limits are placed
on ethical theory, as theoretical reflection, by itself, is sufficient to resolve
moral conflicts and make moral judgements.
More formally, the utilitarianapproach to moral dilemmas is to give
consequentialist principles lexical priority over non-consequentialist principles. According to Richard (R. M.) Hare, there are two levels of moral reasoning. The ‘intuitive’ level involves appeal to