Contemporary Procedural Utility and Hume’s Early Idea of Utility

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


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.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)269-282
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Happiness Studies
Issue number1
StatePublished - 31 Jan 2019


  • David Hume
  • Happiness
  • History of ideas
  • Procedural utility

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


Dive into the research topics of 'Contemporary Procedural Utility and Hume’s Early Idea of Utility'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this