An idea due to Englishman
Jeremy Bentham. Utility is that which "serves to increase human happiness
," based on maximum pleasure
and minimum pain
overall - "the greatest happiness of the greatest number."Legislators
, therefore, should concern themselves with laws
that achieve increased pleasures or avoidance of pains.
Bentham even defined a calculus
for utility. It's generally held to be silly
.John Stuart Mill
later expanded on these ideas.