Consequentialist teleology and the valuation of states of affairs

Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 7 (3):253-265 (2004)
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Abstract

Elizabeth Anderson claims that states of affairs are merely extrinsically valuable, since we value them only in virtue of the intrinsically valuable persons in those states of affairs. Since it considers states of affairs to be the sole bearers of intrinsic value, Anderson argues that consequentialism is incoherent because it attempts to globally maximize extrinsic value. I respond to this objection by distinguishing between two forms of consequentialist teleology and arguing that Anderson''s claim is either harmless or her argument for the claim is uncompelling. On the first conception of teleology, consequentialists need not hold that states of affairs are the sole bearers of intrinsic value, which allows them to deflect this criticism. On the second account of teleology, even assuming that states of affairs are the sole bearers of intrinsic value, Anderson''s argument does not necessarily defeat such views

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Robert F. Card
University of Rochester

Citations of this work

Intrinsic vs. extrinsic value.Michael J. Zimmerman - 2019 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Two Concepts of Intrinsic Value.Ben Bradley - 2006 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 9 (2):111-130.
On the Incoherence Objection to Rule-Utilitarianism.Alex Rajczi - 2016 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 19 (4):857-876.

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References found in this work

Reasons and Persons.Derek Parfit - 1984 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press.
Utilitarianism: For and Against.J. J. C. Smart & Bernard Williams - 1973 - Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Edited by Bernard Williams.
Value in ethics and economics.Elizabeth Anderson - 1993 - Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
Two distinctions in goodness.Christine M. Korsgaard - 1983 - Philosophical Review 92 (2):169-195.
The Rejection of Consequentialism.Samuel Scheffler - 1984 - Journal of Philosophy 81 (4):220-226.

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