What Objective Consequentialism Must Be Like

Abstract

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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2009-01-28

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Jean-Paul Vessel
New Mexico State University

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