Skip to main content
×
Home
    • Aa
    • Aa

Consequentialism's Double-Edged Sword

  • BENJAMIN SACHS (a1)
Abstract

Recent work on consequentialism has revealed it to be more flexible than previously thought. Consequentialists have shown how their theory can accommodate certain features with which it has long been considered incompatible, such as agent-centered constraints. This flexibility is usually thought to work in consequentialism's favor. I want to cast doubt on this assumption. I begin by putting forward the strongest statement of consequentialism's flexibility: the claim that, whatever set of intuitions the best non-consequentialist theory accommodates, we can construct a consequentialist theory that can do the same while still retaining whatever is compelling about consequentialism. I argue that if this is true then most likely the non-consequentialist theory with which we started will turn out to have that same compelling feature. So while this extreme flexibility, if indeed consequentialism has it (a question I leave to the side), makes consequentialism more appealing, it makes non-consequentialism more appealing too.

  • View HTML
    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      Consequentialism's Double-Edged Sword
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Dropbox account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      Consequentialism's Double-Edged Sword
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Google Drive account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      Consequentialism's Double-Edged Sword
      Available formats
      ×
Copyright
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

James Dreier , ‘Structures of Normative Theories’, Monist 76 (1993), pp. 1930

Jennie Louise , ‘Relativity of Value and the Consequentialist Umbrella’, Philosophical Quarterly 54 (2004), pp. 518–36

Michael Smith , ‘Neutral and Relative Value after Moore’, Ethics 113 (2003), pp. 576–98

Douglas Portmore , ‘Consequentializing Moral Theories’, Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 88 (2007), pp. 3973

Graham Oddie and Peter Milne , ‘Act and Value: Expectation and Representability of Moral Theories’, Theoria 57.1–2 (1991), pp. 4256

Douglas Portmore , ‘Consequentializing Moral Theories’, and ‘Consequentializing’, Philosophy Compass 4 (2009), pp. 329–47

Mark Schroeder , ‘Teleology, Agent-Relative Value, and “Good”’, Ethics 117 (2007), pp. 265–95

Tim Mulgan , ‘Rule Consequentialism and Famine’, Analysis 54 (1994), pp. 187–92

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Utilitas
  • ISSN: 0953-8208
  • EISSN: 1741-6183
  • URL: /core/journals/utilitas
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 3
Total number of PDF views: 11 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 130 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 25th March 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.