Inconsistency and the theoretical commitments of Hooker's rule-consequentialism

Utilitas 19 (2):243-258 (2007)
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Rule-consequentialism is frequently regarded as problematic since it faces the following powerful dilemma: either rule-consequentialism collapses into act-consequentialism or rule-consequentialism is inconsistent. Recent defenders of this theory such as Brad Hooker provide a careful response to this objection. By explicating the nature and theoretical commitments of rule-consequentialism, I contend that these maneuvers are not successful by offering a new way of viewing the dilemma which retains its force even in light of these recent discussions. The central idea is that even the most well-developed contemporary form of the view is ensnared in the following dilemma: as an agent-neutral consequentialist theory, rule-consequentialism is either inconsistent or it is desperately unmotivated as a form of consequentialism since it is committed to a non-consequentialist form of ultimate moral value



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Robert F. Card
University of Rochester