What Objective Consequentialism Must Be Like

Jean-Paul Vessel
New Mexico State University
Theorists have consistently maintained that the most plausible forms of objective consequentialism must be probabilistic if and only if indeterminism is true.2 They claim: If indeterminism is true, then objective probabilities used to map such indeterminacies must be utilized by objective consequentialist moral theories; however, if determinism is true, probabilities play no role in objective consequentialist theorizing. I beg to differ. Assume determinism is true and I will show you that attractive forms of objective consequentialism must be probabilistic—and not for reasons related to our epistemic limitations either. In this way, I hope to shed some light upon the nature of objective consequentialism. Here’s my case. Consequentialist normative theories can be classified into two groups: subjective and objective. Subjective consequentialist theories might be characterized as those in which an agent’s beliefs concerning the possible consequences of an alternative play a prominent role in determining that alternative’s normative.
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