consequentialism
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By In Applied Ethics, Normative Ethics, Value Theory Comments (15)

“Everyday” and “Alienated” Approaches to Moral Theory

This post is partly a “bleg” and partly an invitation for people to give their two cents on what strikes me as a very deep and important divide among moral theorists.

Consider so-called “common-sense morality”. It consists of claims like, “It’s wrong to take someone else’s property”; “You shouldn’t handle others’ bodies without their consent”; “The job should go to the person who deserves it”; “Academic censorship is wrong because it goes against the very purposes of the university”; “It’s worse to do harm than to merely allow it to occur”; “You shouldn’t make a promise that you don’t intend to keep”; etc. It gets called “common-sense” mainly because it’s thought to capture the moral leanings of the person on the street. But it’s also fair to call it “common-sense” just because of the way it conceptually carves the world for evaluation in terms of “should”, “worse”, and so on — namely, in terms of “property”, “consent”, “job”, “point”, “do/allow”, “promise”, “intend”. These are common-sense conceptualizations because they are the conceptualizations that common-sense morality employs.

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By In I Wish I Knew Then..., Ideas, Normative Ethics Comments (4)

I wish I knew then what I know now about…

Consequentialism.

Today we begin a new series, “I wish I knew then…,” which invites readers to comment on how, if they could, they would give their earlier selves advice about some moral or political topic they’ve done research in. So regarding consequentialism, if you could’ve helped your earlier self overcome some bias, stopped yourself from going down some dead end, helped yourself gain some key insight, or something else, please tell your earlier self in the comments.

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By In Ideas, Normative Ethics, Value Theory Comments (5)

Does the Shape of an Outcome Matter?

I am interested in knowing whether consequentialists have thought and whether they should think that the shape of an outcome matters when it comes to how good the given outcome of an action or a policy is. Before we get to this question, I want to first motivate this thought with the obvious analogy of an individual’s life. (more…)

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By In Metaethics, Normative Ethics, Practical Rationality Comments (4)

Commonsense Consequentialism: A Bleg for Comments

Currently, I’m working on a book entitled Commonsense Consequentialism: Wherein Morality Meets Rationality. (Click on the link to be taken to a web site where you can download individual chapters.) The book is on morality, rationality, and the interconnections between the two. In it, I defend a version of consequentialism that both comports with our commonsense moral intuitions and shares with other consequentialist theories the same compelling teleological conception of practical reasons. I have a complete draft of the book finished, but I’m still in the process of revising it. I have promised to submit it by the end of this coming January. I would be very grateful, then, to those who have the time to read it (or any portion of it) and give me comments before then, as this would be of tremendous help to me in revising it. Comments, questions, and/or criticisms can be posted here or sent to me at douglas.portmore@asu.edu. Below the fold, I include the table of comments followed by a brief synopsis of each chapter.

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