Utilitas 26 (1):105-119 (2014)

Authors
Joanna Burch-Brown
Bristol University
Abstract
In an influential paper, James Lenman argues that consequentialism can provide no basis for ethical guidance, because we are irredeemably ignorant of most of the consequences of our actions. If our ignorance of distant consequences is great, he says, we can have little reason to recommend one action over another on consequentialist grounds. In this article, I show that for reasons to do with statistical theory, the cluelessness objection is too pessimistic. We have good reason to believe that certain patterns of action will tend to have better consequences, and we have good reason to recommend acting in accordance with strategies based on those advantageous patterns. I close by saying something about the strategies that this argument should lead us to favour
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DOI 10.1017/s0953820813000289
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References found in this work BETA

Reasons and Persons.Joseph Margolis - 1986 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 47 (2):311-327.
Principia Ethica.Evander Bradley McGilvary - 1904 - Philosophical Review 13 (3):351.
Normative Ethics.Shelly Kagan - 1998 - Mind 109 (434):373-377.
Morality and the Theory of Rational Behavior.John Harsanyi - 1977 - Social Research: An International Quarterly 44 (4):623-656.
Consequentialism and Cluelessness.James Lenman - 2000 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 29 (4):342-370.

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Citations of this work BETA

Cluelessness.Hilary Greaves - 2016 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 116 (3):311-339.
Maximal Cluelessness.Andreas L. Mogensen - 2021 - Philosophical Quarterly 71 (1):141-162.
Act Utilitarianism.Ben Eggleston - 2014 - In Ben Eggleston & Dale E. Miller (eds.), The Cambridge Companion to Utilitarianism. Cambridge University Press. pp. 125-145.
Chance and the Dissipation of Our Acts’ Effects.Derek Shiller - 2021 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 99 (2):334-348.

View all 8 citations / Add more citations

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