In this issue of Academic Quarter, we focus on the concept of utility. References to utility are ubiquitous in both practical and theoretical settings. One of the most widespread ways of arguing for the initiating of or holding on to a certain practice or activity is that it is useful to us, and appeals to utility is a common and important argumentative move in theoretical discussion. However, the vast and often diverse specifications of utility reveal the indeterminacy inherent in the comprehension of utility. This gives cause for a struggle for the meaning and reference of utility, which in some cases, may lead to altering the originally positive normativity of utility into a negative interpretation. We get confused about utility, and become uncertain of how to apply and how to regard the concept. But at the same time, we cannot seem to escape it or avoid it, and we certainly cannot seem to be indifferent to its forceful nature.
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