Utility is a term which has a long history in connection with the attempts of philosophers and political economists to explain the phenomenon of value. It has most frequently been given the connotation of ‘desiredness’, or the capacity of a good or service to satisfy a want, of whatever kind. Its use with that meaning can be traced back at least to Gershom Carmichael’s 1724 edition of Pufendorf s De Officio Hominis et Civis Iuxta Legem Naturalem, and arguably came down to him through the medieval schoolmen from Aristotle’s Politics.
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R. D. Collison Black
- Palgrave Macmillan UK