Beyond Consequentialism by Paul Hurley

By Paul Hurley

Consequentialism, the idea that morality calls for us to advertise the simplest total final result, is the default replacement in modern ethical philosophy, and is very influential in public discourses past educational philosophy. Paul Hurley argues that present discussions of the problem consequentialism are inclined to omit a basic problem to consequentialism. the normal consequentialist account of the content material of morality, he argues, can't be reconciled to the authoritativeness of ethical criteria for rational brokers. If rational brokers quite often have decisive purposes to do what morality calls for, then consequentialism can't be the proper account of ethical criteria. Hurley builds upon this problem to argue that the consequentialist case for grounding the neutral overview of activities within the neutral assessment of results is outfitted upon a collection of sophisticated and collectively reinforcing blunders. via exposing those errors and misappropriations, he undermines consequentialist arguments opposed to substitute methods that realize a notion of impartiality applicable to the review of activities that is particular from the impartiality acceptable to the overview of results. an ethical concept that acknowledges a primary function for the sort of particular belief of impartiality can account for the rational authority of ethical criteria, yet does so, Hurley argues, through taking morality past consequentialism in either its average and non-standard varieties.

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Consequentialism ratchets up the level of sacrifice that is necessary for agents to satisfy its standards, but inadvertently ratchets down the rational demands upon agents to make such sacrifices. The difficulty is that NIR and CMS taken together appear to open up a yawning chasm between reason and morality even as consequentialists help themselves to some form of RAMS to close this gap. This is the fundamental structure underlying demandingness, alienation, confinement, and integrity arguments against consequentialism, and I believe that these arguments are ultimately compelling.

C. Smart characterizes it as the view that ‘‘the rightness or wrongness of an action depends only on the goodness or badness of its consequences’’ (1973, p. 4). Alan Donagan (1977, p. 189) and Railton (1988, p. ’’ In each case consequentialism is presented as the theory that endorses a distinctive relationship between standards for the rightness of action and standards for the evaluation of overall consequences. ⁸ Derek Parfit (2004, p. 355). Such a restriction to ‘‘outcome-given’’ considerations, however, leaves important questions at the margins unresolved.

In such cases the standards set by morality and the action that will maximize the agent’s utility may simply coincide. The agent, in pursuing his own utility, is conforming to moral standards. 42 beyond consequentialism have decisive reasons to do what is morally wrong. She will rarely have decisive reasons to act rightly, and will frequently have decisive reasons to do what is morally wrong. Such a theory of practical reasons, when wedded to a consequentialist moral theory, supports NIR, the second member of our triad, but undermines RAMS.

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