To my understanding, Utilitarianism is just the principle of maximising utility, where utility is defined as the state of happiness. However, the name itself does not seem to specify that this utility is specifically happiness. Could not the philosophy be applied to other objectives? And if so, would it still be referred to as Utilitarianism?

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    I'm having some difficulty deciphering your sentences, which makes me hesitate to answer, but utilitarianism is sometimes used synonymously with the broader category consequentialism which refers to all views where the task of ethics is seen as trying to maximize or minimize something (e.g. "minimize suffering" / "maximize number of people" / "minimize number of angry lepruchans" ). – virmaior Sep 29 '16 at 3:39
  • You are not alone here, there are definitely variants of Utilitarianism where the goal is not happiness. The first recorded widespread example of the idea of greatest good for the greatest number arises in Mohism -- focused on the factors that predict the success of a state. The SEP entry on Moh Zi seems equally torn about this -- it still refers to its ethics as 'utilitarian', but dismisses the capital letter. – user9166 Sep 29 '16 at 21:11

Not necessarily; there is an "historical" link between the two points of view.

Compare Utilitarianism :

Though there are many varieties of the view discussed, utilitarianism is generally held to be the view that the morally right action is the action that produces the most good. There are many ways to spell out this general claim. One thing to note is that the theory is a form of consequentialism: the right action is understood entirely in terms of consequences produced. What distinguishes utilitarianism from egoism has to do with the scope of the relevant consequences. On the utilitarian view one ought to maximize the overall good — that is, consider the good of others as well as one's own good.

The Classical Utilitarians, Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill, identified the good with pleasure, so, like Epicurus, were hedonists about value.

with Hedonism :

Ethical or evaluative hedonism claims that only pleasure has worth or value and only pain or displeasure has disvalue or the opposite of worth. Jeremy Bentham asserted both psychological and ethical hedonism with the first two sentences of his book An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation (1823): “Nature has placed mankind under the governance of two sovereign masters, pain, and pleasure. It is for them alone to point out what we ought to do, as well as to determine what we shall do”.

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