Contemporary Procedural Utility and Hume’s Early Idea of Utility.


Kaminitz, Shiri Cohen. 2019. “Contemporary Procedural Utility and Hume’s Early Idea of Utility.”. Journal of Happiness Studies: An Interdisciplinary Forum on Subjective Well-Being 20 (1) : 269.


An appealing concept developed by economists in contemporary happiness studies is that of procedural utility: people’s tendency to value the processes that lead to outcomes in addition to the outcomes themselves. This paper identifies David Hume as an early forerunner of a very similar idea. Moreover, it demonstrates just how Hume used this idea to justify the very idea of commerce. The significance of this is twofold: demonstrating just how Hume is a forerunner of the later concept on the individual level (micro-level), but also pointing to a different approach to the concept of utility on the social level.