Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 15 (5):631-646 (2012)

Leonard Kahn
Loyola University, New Orleans
Rule consequentialism (RC) holds that the rightness and wrongness of actions is determined by an ideal moral code, i.e., the set of rules whose internalization would have the best consequences. But just how many moral codes are there supposed to be? Absolute RC holds that there is a single morally ideal code for everyone, while Relative RC holds that there are different codes for different groups or individuals. I argue that Relative RC better meets the test of reflective equilibrium than Absolute RC. In particular, I contend that Relative RC is superior because it accommodates our convictions about costless benefits. Some have charged that Relative RC threatens our convictions about the generality of moral codes and that it leads inevitably to what Brad Hooker calls “runaway relativism.” I argue that Relative RC has principled reasons for stopping this imagined slide down the slippery slope
Keywords Ethics  Consequentialism  Rule  Absolutism  Relativism  Reflective equilibrium  Parfit  Hooker  Brandt  Singer
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s10677-012-9357-4
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 71,436
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

What We Owe to Each Other.Thomas Scanlon - 1998 - Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
Reasons and Persons.Derek Parfit - 1984 - Oxford University Press.
On What Matters: Two-Volume Set.Derek Parfit - 2011 - Oxford University Press.
Political Liberalism.John Rawls - 1993 - Columbia University Press.

View all 75 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

How Should Utilitarians Think About the Future?Tim Mulgan - 2017 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 47 (2-3):290-312.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

A Dilemma for Rule-Consequentialism.Jussi Suikkanen - 2008 - Philosophia 36 (1):141-150.
Rule Consequentialism and Disasters.Leonard Kahn - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 162 (2):219-236.
Rule-Consequentialism's Dilemma.Iain Law - 1999 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 2 (3):263-276.
Can an Act-Consequentialist Theory Be Agent Relative?Douglas W. Portmore - 2001 - American Philosophical Quarterly 38 (4):363-77.
A Refutation of Consequentialism.Robert Guay - 2005 - Metaphilosophy 36 (3):348-362.


Added to PP index

Total views
169 ( #70,497 of 2,520,378 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #405,718 of 2,520,378 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes