Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 30 March 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Perhaps the most familiar form of consequentialism is classical hedonistic act utilitarianism, which claims, roughly, that an agent ought to perform that action, among the available alternatives, that produces the most net pleasure (pleasure, less pain) for everyone concerned. But this classical form of utilitarianism is thought by many to be just a special case of a more general or abstract class of consequentialist moral theories that make the moral assessment of alternatives depend in some way upon their value. How to understand and assess consequentialism depends on how one specifies this more general class of theories. This article understands consequentialism quite broadly, with the result that it is a large and heterogeneous family. This makes it difficult to get very far discussing the prospects for consequentialism as such. Different varieties of consequentialism have different strengths and weaknesses.

Keywords: consequentialism, classical hedonistic act, utilitarianism, moral theories, moral assessment

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.