Negative utilitarianism

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I think "a version of utilitarianism that gives greater priority to reducing suffering (negative utility or 'disutility') than to increasing pleasure (positive utility)" (Wikipedia) is a more useful/accurate description. (Wikipedia starts with a description like the one currently used here, but I think that that quoted sentence is better.) But I'm not sure if we can/should just take sentences from Wikipedia? 

I think the quoted sentence better describes suffering-focused ethics, for which there is a separate tag. I  do agree that 'negative utilitarianism' is sometimes used to describe that view, but in the interests of clarity it seems best to discuss it in the other article, and append a note on terminology to this one. I will add this note now; please let me know if you think that's sufficient to address your concern.

I don't think that the quoted sentence better describes suffering-focused ethics, since SFE can includ non-utilitarian and non-consequentialist views.

Also, the current description doesn't seem to me to make it clear/salient that negative utilitarianism focuses primarily or entirely on whether an act minimises expected suffering. Many other moral views would also say that agents often ought to act in ways that minimise expected suffering. 

And my impression is that negative utilitarianism includes views that just give greater priority to reducing suffering than to other goods/bads, rather than only views that only care about reducing suffering. (This is based partly on Ord's piece and partly on other things, though I haven't read academic papers on the topic.)

So maybe it's be better to say "Negative utilitarianism is a form of utilitarianism that holds that the primary or only determinant of whether an act is right is whether it minimizes expected suffering". (This is similar to Ord's statement "NU comes in several flavours, which I will outline later, but the basic thrust is that an act is morally right if and only if it leads to less suffering than any available alternative". But I think my statement is a bit more accurate, given Ord's own claim that negative utilitarianism includes not just absolute NU but also lexical NU, lexical threshold NU, and weak NU.)

I've now edited the lead sentence to that suggestion, but obviously feel free to change it back. 

Okay, I added a section on types of NU. After reading some of this literature, I came to the conclusion that Toby's definition was preferable, so I restored it. If you think we should change it (or revise this edit in any other way), let me know.

I meant that the sentence better describes suffering-focused ethics in the sense that this view gives merely greater priority to reducing suffering, rather than absolute or lexical priority. I myself wrote in the suffering focused ethics article that views in this family can value things other than hedonic states.

The paradigmatic form of negative utilitarianism holds that suffering has lexical priority over happiness, either because suffering is the only intrinsic value or because the intrinsic value of happiness can never exceed that of suffering. One can then construct all manner of variants, including those Toby mentions, that deviate from this core view in various respects. That's why Toby characterizes the "basic thrust" of NU as holding "that an act is morally right if and only if it leads to less suffering than any available alternative". Your statement is more accurate than Toby's characterization in that it is consistent with some of the variants, but less accurate than it in that it doesn't capture negative utilitarianism in its paradigmatic form. I slightly revised it to remove the words "primary or" from the first sentence.

I'll try to expand the article tomorrow and cover some of the variants, to make all of this more explicit. [Update: I won't be able to work on this today [Saturday] but I expect to do so shortly.]

I further revised it from 'a form of utilitarianism that holds' to 'a version of utilitarianism whose paradigmatic form holds' in order to reduce confusion. Feel free to make further revisions if you want, though as noted I intend to do further work on the article shortly.