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  1. On Two Arguments for Fanaticism.Jeffrey Sanford Russell - manuscript
    Should we make significant sacrifices to ever-so-slightly lower the chance of extremely bad outcomes, or to ever-so-slightly raise the chance of extremely good outcomes? *Fanaticism* says yes: for every bad outcome, there is a tiny chance of extreme disaster that is even worse, and for every good outcome, there is a tiny chance of an enormous good that is even better. I consider two related recent arguments for Fanaticism: Beckstead and Thomas's argument from *strange dependence on space and time*, and (...)
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  2. Global Consequentialism and the Morality and Laws of War.Hilary Greaves - forthcoming - In McDermott and Roser Kuosmanen (ed.), Human rights and 21st century challenges. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
    Rights-based approaches and consequentialist approaches to ethics are often seen as being diametrically opposed to one another. In one sense, they are. In another sense, however, they can be reconciled: a ‘global’ form of consequentialism might supply consequentialist foundations for a derivative morality that is non-consequentialist, and perhaps rights-based, in content. By way of case study to illustrate how this might work, I survey what a global consequentialist should think about a recent dispute between Jeff McMahan and Henry Shue on (...)
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  3. How (Not) to Make Trade-Offs Between Health and Other Goods.Antti Kauppinen - forthcoming - Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics.
    In the context of a global pandemic, there is good health-based reason for governments to impose various social distancing measures. However, such measures also cause economic and other harms to people at low risk from the virus. In this paper, I examine how to make such trade-offs in a way that is respectfully justifiable to their losers. I argue that existing proposals like using standard QALY (quality-adjusted life-year) valuations or WELLBYs (wellbeing-adjusted life-years) as the currency for trade-offs do not allow (...)
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  4. Act Consequentialism and the No-Difference Challenge.Holly Lawford-Smith & William Tuckwell - forthcoming - In Douglas W. Portmore (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Consequentialism. Oxford University Press.
    In this chapter we explain what the no-difference challenge is, focusing in particular on act consequentialism. We talk about how different theories of causation affect the no-difference challenge; how the challenge shows up in real-world cases including voting, global labour injustice, global poverty, and climate change; and we work through a number of the solutions to the challenge that have been offered, arguing that many fail to actually meet it. We defend and extend one solution that does, and present a (...)
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  5. 80,000 Hours for the Common Good: A Thomistic Appraisal of Effective Altruism.Ryan Miller - forthcoming - Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association.
    Effective Altruism is a rapidly growing and influential contemporary philosophical movement committed to updating utilitarianism in both theory and practice. The movement focuses on identifying urgent but neglected causes and inspiring supererogatory giving to meet the need. It also tries to build a broader coalition by adopting a more ecumenical approach to ethics which recognizes a wide range of values and moral constraints. These interesting developments distinguish Effective Altruism from the utilitarianism of the past in ways that invite cooperation and (...)
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  6. Weighing the Costs and Benefits of Public Policy: On the Dangers of Single Metric Accounting.Johanna Thoma - forthcoming - LSE Public Policy Review.
    This article presents two related challenges to the idea that, to ensure policy evaluation is comprehensive, all costs and benefits should be aggregated into a single, equity-weighted wellbeing metric. The first is to point out how, even allowing for equity-weighting, the use of a single metric limits the extent to which we can take distributional concerns into account. The second challenge starts from the observation that in this and many other ways, aggregating diverse effects into a single metric of evaluation (...)
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  7. A Philosopher’s Guide to Discounting.Kian Mintz-Woo - 2021 - In Mark Bryant Budolfson, Tristram McPherson & David Plunkett (eds.), Philosophy and Climate Change. Oxford University Press. pp. 90-110.
    This chapter introduces several distinctions relevant to what is called the “discounting problem”, since the issue is how (future) costs and benefits are discounted to make them comparable in present terms. The author defends the claim that there are good reasons to adopt Ramsey-style discounting in the context of climate change: the Ramsey rule is robust, flexible, and well-understood. An important distinction involved in discounting—“descriptivism” and “prescriptivism”—is discussed. It is argued that, even if we adopt prescriptivism, and accept that this (...)
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  8. Objective Consequentialism and the Plurality of Chances.Leszek Wroński - 2021 - Synthese 198 (12):12089-12105.
    I claim that objective consequentialism faces a problem stemming from the existence in some situations of a plurality of chances relevant to the outcomes of an agent’s acts. I suggest that this phenomenon bears structural resemblance to the well-known Reference Class problem. I outline a few ways in which one could attempt to deal with the issue, suggesting that it is the higher-level chance that should be employed by OC.
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  9. Consequentialism & Machine Ethics: Towards a Foundational Machine Ethic to Ensure the Right Action of Artificial Moral Agents.Josiah Della Foresta - 2020 - Montreal AI Ethics Institute.
    In this paper, I argue that Consequentialism represents a kind of ethical theory that is the most plausible to serve as a basis for a machine ethic. First, I outline the concept of an artificial moral agent and the essential properties of Consequentialism. Then, I present a scenario involving autonomous vehicles to illustrate how the features of Consequentialism inform agent action. Thirdly, an alternative Deontological approach will be evaluated and the problem of moral conflict discussed. Finally, two bottom-up approaches to (...)
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  10. Consequentialism and Nonhuman Animals.Tyler John & Jeff Sebo - 2020 - In Douglas W. Portmore (ed.), Oxford Handbook of Consequentialism. New York, USA: Oxford University Press. pp. 564-591.
    Consequentialism is thought to be in significant conflict with animal rights theory because it does not regard activities such as confinement, killing, and exploitation as in principle morally wrong. Proponents of the “Logic of the Larder” argue that consequentialism results in an implausibly pro-exploitation stance, permitting us to eat farmed animals with positive well- being to ensure future such animals exist. Proponents of the “Logic of the Logger” argue that consequentialism results in an implausibly anti-conservationist stance, permitting us to exterminate (...)
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  11. Veganism, Animal Welfare, and Causal Impotence.Samuel J. M. Kahn - 2020 - Journal of Animal Ethics 10 (2):161.
    Proponents of the utilitarian animal welfare argument (AWA) for veganism maintain that it is reasonable to expect that adopting a vegan diet will decrease animal suffering. In this paper I argue otherwise. I maintain that (i) there are plausible scenarios in which refraining from meat-consumption will not decrease animal suffering; (ii) the utilitarian AWA rests on a false dilemma; and (iii) there are no reasonable grounds for the expectation that adopting a vegan diet will decrease animal suffering. The paper is (...)
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  12. The Ethical, Political and Economic Challenges of Effective Altruism.Mateusz Kucz & Piotr Rosół - 2020 - Ethics in Progress 11 (1).
    This paper presents a critical evaluation of ethical and philosophical concerns about the effective altruism as an ethical position. Effective altruists claim that one of our important ethical obligations is to do the most good possible, with the biggest possible positive impact. This impact should be measured with rational tools and by evaluating the effectiveness of our actions. At first glance, this might seem as a consensus building position, a good starting point for building a community of people wanting to (...)
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  13. The Case for Valuing Non-Health and Indirect Benefits.Govind Persad & Jessica du Toit - 2020 - In Ole F. Norheim, Ezekiel J. Emanuel & Joseph Millum (eds.), Global Health Priority-Setting: Beyond Cost-Effectiveness. New York, NY, USA: pp. 207-222.
    Health policy is only one part of social policy. Although spending administered by the health sector constitutes a sizeable fraction of total state spending in most countries, other sectors such as education and transportation also represent major portions of national budgets. Additionally, though health is one important aspect of economic and social activity, people pursue many other goals in their social and economic lives. Similarly, direct benefits—those that are immediate results of health policy choices—are only a small portion of the (...)
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  14. Principled Utility Discounting Under Risk.Kian Mintz-Woo - 2019 - Moral Philosophy and Politics 6 (1):89-112.
    Utility discounting in intertemporal economic modelling has been viewed as problematic, both for descriptive and normative reasons. However, positive utility discount rates can be defended normatively; in particular, it is rational for future utility to be discounted to take into account model-independent outcomes when decision-making under risk. The resultant values will tend to be smaller than descriptive rates under most probability assignments. This also allows us to address some objections that intertemporal considerations will be overdemanding. A principle for utility discount (...)
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  15. Will More Organs Save More Lives? Cost‐Effectiveness and the Ethics of Expanding Organ Procurement.Govind Persad - 2019 - Bioethics 33 (6):684-690.
    The assumption that procuring more organs will save more lives has inspired increasingly forceful calls to increase organ procurement. This project, in contrast, directly questions the premise that more organ transplantation means more lives saved. Its argument begins with the fact that resources are limited and medical procedures have opportunity costs. Because many other lifesaving interventions are more cost‐effective than transplantation and compete with transplantation for a limited budget, spending on organ transplantation consumes resources that could have been used to (...)
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  16. Effective Altruism’s Underspecification Problem.Travis Timmerman - 2019 - In Hilary Greaves & Theron Pummer (eds.), Effective Altruism: Philosophical Issues. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 166-183.
    Effective altruists either believe they ought to be, or strive to be, doing the most good they can. Since they’re human, however, effective altruists are invariably fallible. In numerous situations, even the most committed EAs would fail to live up to the ideal they set for themselves. This fact raises a central question about how to understand effective altruism. How should one’s future prospective failures at doing the most good possible affect the current choices one makes as an effective altruist? (...)
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  17. Murdering an Accident Victim: A New Objection to the Bare-Difference Argument.Scott Hill - 2018 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 96 (4):767-778.
    Many philosophers, psychologists, and medical practitioners believe that killing is no worse than letting die on the basis of James Rachels's Bare-Difference Argument. I show that his argument is unsound. In particular, a premise of the argument is that his examples are as similar as is consistent with one being a case of killing and the other being a case of letting die. However, the subject who lets die has both the ability to kill and the ability to let die (...)
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  18. Moral Uncertainty Over Policy Evaluation.Kian Mintz-Woo - 2018 - Erasmus Journal for Philosophy and Economics 11 (2):291-294.
    [Dissertation summary] When performing intertemporal cost-benefit analyses of policies, both in terms of climate change and other long-term problems, the discounting problem becomes critical. The question is how to weight intertemporal costs and benefits to generate present value equivalents. This thesis argues that those best placed to answer the discounting problem are domain experts, not moral philosophers or the public at large. It does this by arguing that the discounting problem is a special case of an interesting class of problems, (...)
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  19. Review of John Harris, How to Be Good: The Possibility of Moral Enhancement, Oxford University Press, 2016. [REVIEW]Daniel Moseley - 2018 - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2018.
    John Harris's influential work on human enhancement has advocated the development, use, and exchange of human enhancement technologies. The types of enhancements that are of interest are biomedical interventions that are used to improve human capacities beyond what is necessary to achieve or maintain health or "normal functioning". This new book is unique in Harris's body of work in that it takes a more cautious stance regarding moral enhancements than he has taken toward other forms of human enhancement, such as (...)
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  20. Peter Singer’s Ethics: A Critical Appraisal. [REVIEW]Trevor Stammers - 2018 - The New Bioethics 24 (3):268-270.
  21. How Should One Live? An Introduction to Ethics and Moral Reasoning.Bradley Thames - 2018 - San Diego, CA, USA: Bridgepoint Education.
    This book provides an entry-level introduction to philosophical ethics, theories of moral reasoning, and selected issues in applied ethics. Chapter 1 describes the importance of philosophical approaches to ethical issues, the general dialectical form of moral reasoning, and the broad landscape of moral philosophy. Chapter 2 presents egoism and relativism as challenges to the presumed objectivity and unconditionality of morality. Chapters 3, 4 and 5 discuss utilitarianism, deontology, and virtue ethics, respectively. Each chapter begins with a general overview of the (...)
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  22. Pluralistyczna Teoria Alokacji Narządów.Piotr Grzegorz Nowak - 2017 - Diametros 51:65-89.
    Biomedical sciences cannot answer the question who should be saved from death if not everyone can be. This is an ethical issue. However, we face exactly this question when deliberating on the criteria for organ allocation. The main aim of this article is to formulate a pluralistic theory of just distribution of organs, which incorporates the tenets of utilitarianism, egalitarianism and sufficientarianism. Each constituent theory adopts a different value as a criterion for organ allocation. For utilitarianism it is a health (...)
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  23. Utilitarianism and Animal Cruelty: Further Doubts.Ben Davies - 2016 - De Ethica 3 (3):5-19.
    Utilitarianism has an apparent pedigree when it comes to animal welfare. It supports the view that animal welfare matters just as much as human welfare. And many utilitarians support and oppose various practices in line with more mainstream concern over animal welfare, such as that we should not kill animals for food or other uses, and that we ought not to torture animals for fun. This relationship has come under tension from many directions. The aim of this article is to (...)
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  24. An Unfortunate State of Affairs.Hilary Greaves - 2016 - In David Edmonds (ed.), Philosophers Take on the World. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  25. Commentary on Szmukler: Mental Illness, Dangerousness, and Involuntary Civil Commitment.Ken Levy & Alex Cohen - 2016 - In Daniel D. Moseley Gary J. Gala (ed.), Philosophy and Psychiatry: Problems, Intersections, and New Perspectives. Routledge. pp. 147-160.
    Prof. Cohen and I answer six questions: (1) Why do we lock people up? (2) How can involuntary civil commitment be reconciled with people's constitutional right to liberty? (3) Why don't we treat homicide as a public health threat? (4) What is the difference between legal and medical approaches to mental illness? (5) Why is mental illness required for involuntary commitment? (6) Where are we in our efforts to understand the causes of mental illness?
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  26. Veganism.Alejandra Mancilla - 2016 - In Paul B. Thompson & David M. Kaplan (eds.), Encyclopedia of Food and Agricultural Ethics. Dordrecht: Springer.
    Narrowly understood, veganism is the practice of excluding all animal products from one’s diet, with the exception of human milk. More broadly, veganism is not only a food ethics, but it encompasses all other areas of life. As defined by the Vegan Society when it became an established charity in the UK in 1979, veganism is best understood as “a philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude – as far as is possible and practicable – all forms of (...)
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  27. The Confluence of Philosophy and Law in Applied Ethics.Norbert Paulo - 2016 - Palgrave.
    The law serves functions that are not often taken seriously enough by ethicists, namely feasibility and practicability. A consequence of feasibility is that most laws do not meet the demands of ideal ethical theory. A consequence of practicability is that law requires elaborated and explicit methodologies that determine how to do things with norms. These two consequences form the core idea behind this book, which employs methods from legal theory to inform and examine debates on methodology in applied ethics, particularly (...)
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  28. Introduction to the Symposium on The Most Good You Can Do.Anthony Skelton - 2016 - Journal of Global Ethics 12 (2):127-131.
    This is the introduction to the Journal of Global Ethics symposium on Peter Singer's The Most Good You Can Do: How Effective Altruism is Changing Ideas About Living Ethically. It summarizes the main features of effective altruism in the context of Singer's work on the moral demands of global poverty and some recent criticisms of effective altruism. The symposium contains contributions by Anthony Skelton, Violetta Igneski, Tracy Isaacs and Peter Singer.
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  29. A Moral Defense of Recreational Drug Use.Rob Lovering - 2015 - Palgrave Macmillan.
    Why does American law allow the recreational use of some drugs, such as alcohol, tobacco, and caffeine, but not others, such as marijuana, cocaine, and heroin? The answer lies not simply in the harm the use of these drugs might cause, but in the perceived morality—or lack thereof—of their recreational use. Despite strong rhetoric from moral critics of recreational drug use, however, it is surprisingly difficult to discern the reasons they have for deeming the recreational use of (some) drugs morally (...)
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  30. Carbon Leakage and the Argument From No Difference.Matthew Rendall - 2015 - Environmental Values 24 (4):535-52.
    Critics of carbon mitigation often appeal to what Jonathan Glover has called ‘the argument from no difference’: that is, ‘If I don’t do it, someone else will’. Yet even if this justifies continued high emissions by the industrialised countries, it cannot excuse business as usual. The North’s emissions might not harm the victims of climate change in the sense of making them worse off than they would otherwise be. Nevertheless, it receives benefits produced at the latter’s expense, with the result (...)
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  31. Book Review: The Morality of Private War: The Challenge of Private Military and Security Companies. [REVIEW]Robert Vinten - 2015 - Socialism and Democracy 29 (1):201-204.
  32. You Can't Choose Your Family: Impartial Morality and Personal Obligations in Alias.Brendan Shea - 2014 - In Patricia Brace & Robert Arp (eds.), The Philosophy of J.J. Abrams. The University Press of Kentucky. pp. 173-189.
    In this essay, I critically examine the ways in which the characters of Alias attempt to balance their impartial moral obligations (e.g. duties toward humanity) and their personal obligations (e.g. duties toward one's children). I specifically examine three areas of conflict: (1) choices between saving loved ones and maximizing consequences, (2) choices to maintain or sever relationships with characters who are vicious or immoral, and (3) choices to seek or not seek revenge on the behalf of loved ones. I conclude (...)
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  33. Small Impacts and Imperceptible Effects: Causing Harm with Others.Kai Spiekermann - 2014 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 38 (1):75-90.
  34. Research Ethics: A Philosophical Guide to the Responsible Conduct of Research.Comstock Gary - 2013 - Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    Education in the responsible conduct of research typically takes the form of online instructions about rules, regulations, and policies. Research Ethics takes a novel approach and emphasizes the art of philosophical decision-making. Part A introduces egoism and explains that it is in the individual's own interest to avoid misconduct, fabrication of data, plagiarism and bias. Part B explains contractualism and covers issues of authorship, peer review and responsible use of statistics. Part C introduces moral rights as the basis of informed (...)
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  35. Consequentialism and Environmental Ethics.Avram Hiller, Ramona Ilea & Leonard Kahn (eds.) - 2013 - Routledge.
    This volume works to connect issues in environmental ethics with the best work in contemporary normative theory. Environmental issues challenge contemporary ethical theorists to account for topics that traditional ethical theories do not address to any significant extent. This book articulates and evaluates consequentialist responses to that challenge. Contributors provide a thorough and well-rounded analysis of the benefits and limitations of the consequentialist perspective in addressing environmental issues. In particular, the contributors use consequentialist theory to address central questions in environmental (...)
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  36. The Consequences of Individual Consumption: A Defence of Threshold Arguments for Vegetarianism and Consumer Ethics.Ben Almassi - 2011 - Journal of Applied Philosophy 28 (4):396-411.
    As a moral foundation for vegetarianism and other consumer choices, act consequentialism can be appealing. When we justify our consumer and dietary choices this way, however, we face the problem that our individual actions rarely actually precipitate more just agricultural and economic practices. This threshold or individual impotence problem engaged by consequentialist vegetarians and their critics extends to morally motivated consumer decision-making more generally, anywhere a lag persists between individual moral actions taken and systemic moral progress made. Regan and others (...)
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  37. Life Science Ethics, 2nd Ed.Gary Comstock (ed.) - 2010 - Dordrecht: Springer.
    This second edition of Life Science Ethics includes four essays not found in the first edition: -/- Richard Haynes on “Animals in Research” Stephen M. Gardiner on “Climate Change” Christopher Kelty on “Nanotechnology” Gary Comstock on “Genetically Modified Foods” -/- and a revised and expanded version of the chapter on “Farms” in which Stephen Carpenter joins Charles Taliaferro as author. -/- In addition, Part III has been thoroughly revised with the goal of focusing attention on salient examples. Three new case (...)
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  38. Peter Singer, Salvare una vita si può (Milano: Il Saggiatore, 2009). [REVIEW]Lorenzo Greco - 2010 - Rivista di Filosofia 101 (1):135-36.
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  39. La strana idea di applicare la teoria etica.Sergio Volodia Marcello Cremaschi - 2008 - In Christoph Lumer (ed.), Etica normativa – Principi dell’agire morale. Roma, Italy: Carocci. pp. 167-188.
    In this paper I argue that applied ethics is a phenomenon spontaneously emerged between the Sixties and the Seventies and resulting from interbreeding of theoretical discussion in ethics and public discourse of liberal-democratic societies. I contend that the phenomenon’s novelty is in a peculiar relationship it has helped in establishing between ethical theories and real-world issues, and besides that the true nature of applied ethics is that of deliberation, whose tool is the faculty of judgment, or casuistry, understood the Kantian (...)
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  40. Future People: A Moderate Consequentialist Account of Our Obligations to Future Generations.Tim Mulgan - 2006 - Oxford University Press.
    What do we owe to our descendants? How do we balance their needs against our own? Tim Mulgan develops a new theory of our obligations to future generations, based on a new rule-consequentialist account of the morality of individual reproduction. He also brings together several different contemporary philosophical discussions, including the demands of morality and international justice. His aim is to produce a coherent, intuitively plausible moral theory that is not unreasonably demanding, even when extended to cover future people. While (...)
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  41. Explaining the Geometry of Desert.Neil Feit & Stephen Kershnar - 2004 - Public Affairs Quarterly 18:273.
    In the past decade, three philosophers in particular have recently explored the relation between desert and intrinsic value. Fred Feldman argues that consequentialism need not give much weight – or indeed any weight at all – to the happiness of persons who undeservedly experience pleasure. He defends the claim that the intrinsic value of a state of affairs is determined by the “fit” between the amount of well-being that a person receives and the amount of well-being that the person deserves. (...)
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  42. Can It Ever Be Better Never to Have Existed at All? Person-Based Consequentialism and a New Repugnant Conclusion.Melinda A. Roberts - 2003 - Journal of Applied Philosophy 20 (2):159–185.
  43. Option Ranges.Timothy Chappell - 2001 - Journal of Applied Philosophy 18 (2):107–118.
    An option range is a set of alternative actions available to an agent at a given time. I ask how a moral theory’s account of option ranges relates to its recommendations about deliberative procedure (DP) and criterion of rightness (CR). I apply this question to Act Consequentialism (AC), which tells us, at any time, to perform the action with the best consequences in our option range then. If anyone can employ this command as a DP, or assess (direct or indirect) (...)
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