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Against satisficing consequentialism

Utilitas 18 (2):97-108 (2006)

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  1. Defending a Possibilist Insight in Consequentialist Thought.Jean-Paul Vessel - 2009 - Philosophical Studies 142 (2):183 - 195.
    There is a heated dispute among consequentialists concerning the following deontic principle.
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  • Dual-Ranking Act-Consequentialism.Douglas W. Portmore - 2008 - Philosophical Studies 138 (3):409 - 427.
    Dual-ranking act-consequentialism (DRAC) is a rather peculiar version of act-consequentialism. Unlike more traditional forms of act-consequentialism, DRAC doesn’t take the deontic status of an action to be a function of some evaluative ranking of outcomes. Rather, it takes the deontic status of an action to be a function of some non-evaluative ranking that is in turn a function of two auxiliary rankings that are evaluative. I argue that DRAC is promising in that it can accommodate certain features of commonsense morality (...)
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  • Exploitation and Effective Altruism.Daniel Muñoz - 2021 - Politics, Philosophy and Economics 20 (4):409-423.
    How could it be wrong to exploit—say, by paying sweatshop wages—if the exploited party benefits? How could it be wrong to do something gratuitously bad—like giving to a wasteful charity—if that is better than permissibly doing nothing? Joe Horton argues that these puzzles, known as the Exploitation Problem and All or Nothing Problem, have no unified answer. I propose one and pose a challenge for Horton’s take on the Exploitation Problem.
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  • Moral Demands and Ethical Theory: The Case of Consequentialism.Attila Tanyi - 2015 - In Barry Dainton & Howard Robinson (eds.), Bloomsbury Companion to Analytic Philosophy. Bloomsbury Academic. pp. 500-527.
    Morality is demanding; this is a platitude. It is thus no surprise when we find that moral theories too, when we look into what they require, turn out to be demanding. However, there is at least one moral theory – consequentialism – that is said to be beset by this demandingness problem. This calls for an explanation: Why only consequentialism? This then leads to related questions: What is the demandingness problematic about? What exactly does it claim? Finally, there is the (...)
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  • 7 Consequentialism.Douglas W. Portmore - 2011 - In Christian Miller (ed.), Continuum Companion to Ethics. Continuum. pp. 143.
  • The Composite Nature of Epistemic Justification.Paul Silva - 2017 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 98 (1).
    According to many, to have epistemic justification to believe P is just for it to be epistemically permissible to believe P. Others think it is for believing P to be epistemically good. Yet others think it has to do with being epistemically blameless in believing P. All such views of justification encounter problems. Here, a new view of justification is proposed according to which justification is a kind of composite normative status. The result is a view of justification that offers (...)
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  • For Utilitarianism.Jean-Paul Vessel - 2010 - American Philosophical Quarterly 47 (4).
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  • Consequentializing.Douglas W. Portmore - 2009 - Philosophy Compass 4 (2):329-347.
    A growing trend of thought has it that any plausible nonconsequentialist theory can be consequentialized, which is to say that it can be given a consequentialist representation. In this essay, I explore both whether this claim is true and what its implications are. I also explain the procedure for consequentializing a nonconsequentialist theory and give an account of the motivation for doing so.
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  • Love in the Time of Consequentialism.Barry Maguire - 2017 - Noûs 51 (4):686-712.
    There are several powerful motivations for neutral value-based deontic theories such as Act Consequentialism. Traditionally, such theories have had great difficulty accounting for partiality towards one's personal relationships and projects. This paper presents a neutral value-based theory that preserves the motivations for Act Consequentialism while vindicating some crucial intuitions about reasons to be partial. There are two central ideas. The first is that when it comes to working out what you ought to do, your friends’ interests, the needs of your (...)
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  • Willpower Satisficing.Richard Yetter Chappell - 2019 - Noûs 53 (2):251-265.
    Satisficing Consequentialism is often rejected as hopeless. Perhaps its greatest problem is that it risks condoning the gratuitous prevention of goodness above the baseline of what qualifies as "good enough". I propose a radical new willpower-based version of the view that avoids this problem, and that better fits with the motivation of avoiding an excessively demanding conception of morality. I further demonstrate how, by drawing on the resources of an independent theory of blameworthiness, we may obtain a principled specification of (...)
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  • Maximising, Satisficing and Context.C. S. Jenkins & Daniel Nolan - 2010 - Noûs 44 (3):451-468.
  • Epistemic Repugnance Four Ways.Brian Talbot - 2020 - Synthese 199 (1-2):3001-3022.
    Value-based epistemology sees epistemic norms as explained by or grounded in distinctively epistemic values. This paper argues that, no matter what epistemic value is, credences or beliefs about some topics have at most infinitesimal amounts of this value. This makes it hard to explain why epistemic norms apply at all to credences or beliefs on these topics. My argument is inspired by a recent series of papers on epistemic versions of Parfit’s Repugnant Conclusion. The discussion in those papers parallels work (...)
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  • Informed Altruism and Utilitarianism.Brian Rosebury - forthcoming - Social Theory and Practice 47 (4):717-746.
    Utilitarianism is a consequentialist theory that assigns value impartially to the well-being of each person. Informed Altruism, introduced in this article, is an intentionalist theory that relegates both consequentialism and impartiality to subordinate roles. It identifies morally right or commendable actions as those motivated by a sufficiently informed intention to benefit and not harm others. An implication of the theory is that multiple agents may perform incompatible actions and yet each be acting rightly in a moral sense.
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  • Ethics of Social Consequences as a Hybrid Form of Ethical Theory?Ján Kalajtzidis - 2019 - Philosophia 47 (3):705-722.
    The contemporary situation within the realm of ethical theories is quite complicated. Were it not enough that many classical ethical theories are evolving into the new modern forms, new types of ethical theories are arising, as well. The main aim of the paper is to introduce this issue of ethical theories which are known under the term hybrid ethical theories. A secondary aim of the paper is to describe and characterize the contemporary ethical theory of ethics of social consequences, and (...)
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  • Moral Context, Moral Complicity And Ethical Theory.Daniel F. Hartner - 2020 - SATS 21 (2):179-198.
    One of the dominant traditions in normative ethics is characterised by the attempt to develop a comprehensive moral theory that can distinguish right from wrong in a range of cases by drawing on a philosophical account of the good. Familiar versions of consequentialism, deontology, and virtue ethics have emerged from this tradition. Yet such theories often seem to lack the resources needed to evaluate the broader contexts in which moral dilemmas arise, which may cause them to encourage moral complicity. Context-insensitive (...)
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  • Three Paradoxes of Supererogation.Daniel Muñoz - 2021 - Noûs 55 (3):699-716.
    Supererogatory acts—good deeds “beyond the call of duty”—are a part of moral common sense, but conceptually puzzling. I propose a unified solution to three of the most infamous puzzles: the classic Paradox of Supererogation (if it’s so good, why isn’t it just obligatory?), Horton’s All or Nothing Problem, and Kamm’s Intransitivity Paradox. I conclude that supererogation makes sense if, and only if, the grounds of rightness are multi-dimensional and comparative.
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  • Opting for the Best: Oughts and Options.Douglas W. Portmore - 2019 - New York, NY, USA: Oxford University Press.
    The book concerns what I take to be the least controversial normative principle concerning action: you ought to perform your best option—best, that is, in terms of whatever ultimately matters. The book sets aside the question of what ultimately matters so as to focus on more basic issues, such as: What are our options? Do I have the option of typing out the cure for cancer if that’s what I would in fact do if I had the right intentions at (...)
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  • Consequentialism.Douglas W. Portmore - forthcoming - In Christian Miller (ed.), Bloomsbury Handbook of Ethics. Bloomsbury.
  • Solving Satisficing Consequentialism.Daniel McKay - forthcoming - Philosophia:1-9.
    Satisficing consequentialism is often used as a way of solving the demandingness objection, but many forms of satisficing consequentialism fail to do so. Further, those that do are vulnerable to the objections Ben Bradley outlined in Against Satisficing Consequentialism. In this paper, I present a new type of satisficing consequentialism which resolves the demandingness objection, is in-line with common intuitions about moral responsibility, and avoids Bradley's criticisms.
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  • How to Think About Satisficing.Chris Tucker - 2017 - Philosophical Studies 174 (6):1365-1384.
    An agent submaximizes with motivation when she aims at the best but chooses a less good option because of a countervailing consideration. An agent satisfices when she rejects the better for the good enough, and does so because the mere good enough gets her what she really wants. Motivated submaximization and satisficing, so construed, are different ways of choosing a suboptimal option, but this difference is easily missed. Putative proponents of satisficing tend to argue only that motivated submaximization can be (...)
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  • Accommodating Options.Seth Lazar - 2019 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 100 (1):233-255.
    Many of us think we have agent-centred options to act suboptimally. Some of these involve favouring our own interests. Others involve sacrificing them. In this paper, I explore three different ways to accommodate agent-centred options in a criterion of objective permissibility. I argue against satisficing and rational pluralism, and in favour of a principle built around sensitivity to personal cost.
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  • Deontic Pluralism and the Right Amount of Good.Richard Y. Chappell - 2020 - In Douglas W. Portmore (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Consequentialism. Oxford University Press. pp. 498-512.
    Consequentialist views have traditionally taken a maximizing form, requiring agents to bring about the very best outcome that they can. But this maximizing function may be questioned. Satisficing views instead allow agents to bring about any outcome that exceeds a satisfactory threshold or qualifies as “good enough.” Scalar consequentialism, by contrast, eschews moral requirements altogether, instead evaluating acts in purely comparative terms, i.e., as better or worse than their alternatives. After surveying the main considerations for and against each of these (...)
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  • Farewell to Arms? The All-or-Nothing Problem Again.Terence Rajivan Edward - manuscript
    Joe Horton’s all-or-nothing problem concerns a situation in which it is morally permissible to do nothing and to save two people but not to save only one. This description seems to entail that we should do nothing rather than save only one. I object to Horton’s solution and challenge a principle he draws attention to, which is required to generate the problem but which Horton regards as beyond dispute.
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  • Why Impossible Options Are Better: Consequentializing Dilemmas.Brian Talbot - 2021 - Utilitas 33 (2):221-236.
    To consequentialize a deontological moral theory is to give a theory which issues the same moral verdicts, but explains those verdicts in terms of maximizing or satisficing value. There are many motivations for consequentializing: to reconcile plausible ideas behind deontology with plausible ideas behind consequentialism, to help us better understand deontological theories, or to extend deontological theories beyond what intuitions alone tell us. It has proven difficult to consequentialize theories that allow for moral dilemmas or that deny that “ought” implies (...)
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  • Peter van Inwagen on Gratuitous Evil.Klaas J. Kraay - 2014 - Religious Studies 50 (2):217-234.
    Defenders and critics of the evidential argument from evil typically agree that if theism is true, no gratuitous evil occurs. But Peter van Inwagen has challenged this orthodoxy by urging that for all we know, given God's goals, it is impossible for God to prevent all gratuitous evil, in which case God is not required do so. If van Inwagen is right, the evidential argument from evil fails. After setting out this striking and innovative move, I examine three responses found (...)
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  • Can God Satisfice?Klaas J. Kraay - 2013 - American Philosophical Quarterly 50 (4):399-410.
    Three very prominent arguments for atheism are (1) the argument from sub-optimality, (2) the problem of no best world, and (3) the evidential argument from gratuitous evil. To date, it has not sufficiently been appreciated that several important criticisms of these arguments have all relied on a shared strategy. Although the details vary, the core of this strategy is to concede that God either cannot or need not achieve the best outcome in the relevant choice situation, but to insist that (...)
     
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  • Act Utilitarianism.Ben Eggleston - 2014 - In Ben Eggleston & Dale E. Miller (eds.), The Cambridge Companion to Utilitarianism. Cambridge University Press. pp. 125-145.
    An overview (about 8,000 words) of act utilitarianism, covering the basic idea of the theory, historical examples, how it differs from rule utilitarianism and motive utilitarianism, supporting arguments, and standard objections. A closing section provides a brief introduction to indirect utilitarianism (i.e., a Hare- or Railton-style view distinguishing between a decision procedure and a criterion of rightness).
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  • Consequentialism.Walter Sinnott-Armstrong - 2019 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
  • The Value of Caring.Jörg Löschke - 2017 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 12 (1):118-126.
    This article responds to Barry Maguire's recent attempt to justify partiality within a consequentialist framework.
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  • Moral Offsetting.Thomas Foerster - 2019 - Philosophical Quarterly 69 (276):617-635.
    This paper explores the idea of moral offsetting: the idea that good actions can offset bad actions in a way roughly analogous to carbon offsetting. For example, a meat eater might try to offset their consumption of meat by donating to an animal welfare charity. In this paper, I clarify the idea of moral offsetting, consider whether the leading moral theories and theories of moral worth are consistent with the possibility of moral offsetting, and consider potential benefits of moral offsetting. (...)
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  • The Value of Caring.J.Örg L.Öschke - 2017 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 12 (1):118-126.
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  • Consequentializing Moral Theories.Douglas W. Portmore - 2007 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 88 (1):39–73.
    To consequentialize a non-consequentialist theory, take whatever considerations that the non-consequentialist theory holds to be relevant to determining the deontic statuses of actions and insist that those considerations are relevant to determining the proper ranking of outcomes. In this way, the consequentialist can produce an ordering of outcomes that when combined with her criterion of rightness yields the same set of deontic verdicts that the non-consequentialist theory yields. In this paper, I argue that any plausible non-consequentialist theory can be consequentialized. (...)
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  • Epistemic Supererogation and its Implications.Trevor Hedberg - 2014 - Synthese 191 (15):3621-3637.
    Supererogatory acts, those which are praiseworthy but not obligatory, have become a significant topic in contemporary moral philosophy, primarily because morally supererogatory acts have proven difficult to reconcile with other important aspects of normative ethics. However, despite the similarities between ethics and epistemology, epistemic supererogation has received very little attention. In this paper, I aim to further the discussion of supererogation by arguing for the existence of epistemically supererogatory acts and considering the potential implications of their existence. First, I offer (...)
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  • Resting Content: Sensible Satisficing?Patricia Greenspan - 2009 - American Philosophical Quarterly 46 (4):305 - 317.
    Suppose I am now making plans for next summer’s vacation. I can spend a week in Rome or on the Riviera, but not both. Either choice would be excellent, but after weighing various pros and cons, I decide that for my purposes Rome would be better. If I am rational, then, I must choose Rome. It is an assumption of standard decision theory that rationality requires maximizing: trying to get the maximum amount of whatever form of value we are after (...)
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  • Doing the Best for One’s Child: Satisficing Versus Optimizing Parentalism. [REVIEW]Jeffrey Blustein - 2012 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 33 (3):199-205.
    The maxim “parents should do what is in the best interests of their child” seems like an unassailable truth, and yet, as I argue here, there are serious problems with it when it is taken seriously. One problem concerns the sort of demands such a principle places on parents; the other concerns its larger social implications when conceived as part of a national policy for the rearing of children. The theory of parenting that creates these problems I call “optimizing parentalism.” (...)
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  • Satisficing Consequentialism Still Doesn't Satisfy.Joe Slater - forthcoming - Utilitas:1-10.
    Satisficing consequentialism is an unpopular theory. Because it permits gratuitous sub-optimal behaviour, it strikes many as wildly implausible. It has been widely rejected as a tenable moral theory for more than twenty years. In this article, I rehearse the arguments behind this unpopularity, before examining an attempt to redeem satisficing. Richard Yetter Chappell has recently defended a form of ‘effort satisficing consequentialism’. By incorporating an ‘effort ceiling’ – a limit on the amount of willpower a situation requires – and requiring (...)
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  • Consequentialist Options.Jussi Suikkanen - 2014 - Utilitas 26 (3):276-302.
    According to traditional forms of act-consequentialism, an action is right if and only if no other action in the given circumstances would have better consequences. It has been argued that this view does not leave us enough freedom to choose between actions which we intuitively think are morally permissible but not required options. In the first half of this article, I will explain why the previous consequentialist responses to this objection are less than satisfactory. I will then attempt to show (...)
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  • In Defense of a Version of Satisficing Consequentialism.Jason Rogers - 2010 - Utilitas 22 (2):198-221.
    In this paper, I develop, motivate and offer a qualified defense of a version of satisficing consequentialism (SC). I develop the view primarily in light of objections to other versions of SC recently posed by Ben Bradley. I motivate the view by showing that it (1) accommodates the intuitions apparently supporting those objections, (2) is supported by certain ‘common sense’ moral intuitions about specific cases, and (3) captures the central ideas expressed by satisficing consequentialists in the recent literature. Finally, I (...)
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  • Against Securitism, the New Breed of Actualism in Consequentialist Thought.Jean-Paul Vessel - 2016 - Utilitas 28 (2):164-178.
    In Commonsense Consequentialism: Wherein Morality Meets Rationality, Douglas Portmore introduces a novel position regarding the actualist securitism – a position he argues is theoretically superior to the standard views in both the actualist and possibilist camps. After distinguishing the two camps through an examination of the original Procrastinate case, I present Portmore's securitism and its implications regarding his modified Procrastinate case. I level two serious objections against securitism: that it implausibly implies that morality is radically more demanding for the virtuous (...)
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