Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 11 (3):247-261 (2008)

Authors
Christopher Woodard
Nottingham University
Abstract
We best understand Rule Consequentialism as a theory of pattern-based reasons, since it claims that we have reasons to perform some action because of the goodness of the pattern consisting of widespread performance of the same type of action in the same type of circumstances. Plausible forms of Rule Consequentialism are also pluralist, in the sense that, alongside pattern-based reasons, they recognise ordinary act-based reasons, based on the goodness of individual actions. However, Rule Consequentialist theories are distinguished from other pluralist theories of pattern-based reasons by implausible claims about the relative importance of act-based and pattern-based reasons in different cases. Rule Consequentialists should give up these claims. They should either embrace some other pluralist pattern-based view, or reject pattern-based reasons altogether. Note, though, that these arguments apply only to compliance-based, rather than acceptance-based, versions of Rule Consequentialism. This suggests that these two kinds of theory are more different from each other than we might previously have realised.
Keywords Philosophy   Political Philosophy   Ethics  Rule Consequentialism
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DOI 10.1007/s10677-007-9083-5
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References found in this work BETA

The Concept of Moral Obligation.Michael J. Zimmerman - 1996 - Cambridge University Press.
Moral Demands in Nonideal Theory.Liam B. Murphy - 2000 - Oxford University Press.

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Citations of this work BETA

What's Wrong with Possibilism.C. Woodard - 2009 - Analysis 69 (2):219-226.
Challenging the Pursuit of Novelty.Emmalon Davis - forthcoming - Australasian Journal of Philosophy:1-20.
Rationality and the Unit of Action.Christopher Woodard - 2011 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 2 (2):261-277.
Pedro’s Significance.Christopher Woodard - 2009 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 47 (3):301-319.

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