Philosophical Perspectives 34 (1):88-116 (2020)

Authors
Ben Levinstein
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Preston Greene
Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
Abstract
Consequentialist theories determine rightness solely based on real or expected consequences. Although such theories are popular, they often have difficulty with generalizing intuitions, which demand concern for questions like “What if everybody did that?” Rule consequentialism attempts to incorporate these intuitions by shifting the locus of evaluation from the consequences of acts to those of rules. However, detailed rule-consequentialist theories seem ad hoc or arbitrary compared to act consequentialist ones. We claim that generalizing can be better incorporated into consequentialism by keeping the locus of evaluation on acts but adjusting the decision theory behind act selection. Specifically, we should adjust which types of dependencies the theory takes to be decision-relevant. Using this strategy, we formulate a new theory, generalized act consequentialism, which we argue is more compelling than rule consequentialism both in modeling the actual reasoning of generalizers and in delivering correct verdicts.
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DOI 10.1111/phpe.12138
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References found in this work BETA

The Methods of Ethics.Henry Sidgwick - 1962 - Revista Portuguesa de Filosofia 30 (4):401-401.
Utilitarianism and the Virtues.Philippa Foot - 1985 - Mind 94 (374):196-209.
Counterfactuals and Two Kinds of Expected Utility.Allan Gibbard & William L. Harper - 1978 - In A. Hooker, J. J. Leach & E. F. McClennen (eds.), Foundations and Applications of Decision Theory. D. Reidel. pp. 125-162.

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