Fault Lines in Ethical Theory

In Oxford Handbook of Consequentialism. Oxford University Press. pp. 67-92 (2020)
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Abstract

The verdicts standard consequentialism gives about what we are obligated to do crucially depend on what theory of value the consequentialist accepts. This makes it hard to say what separates standard consequentialist theories from non-consequentialist theories. This article discusses how we can draw sharp lines separating standard consequentialist theories from other theories and what assumptions about goodness we must make in order to draw these lines. The discussion touches on cases of deontic constraints, cases of deontic options, and cases involved in the so-called "actualism"/"possibilism" debate. What emerges is that there are various interesting patterns relating the different commitments of consequentialism, different principles about obligation and about goodness, and different rules concerning how facts about values determine facts about obligation.

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Shyam Nair
Arizona State University

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Consequentializing.Douglas W. Portmore - forthcoming - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

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