- Copyright Page
- Relativized Rankings
- Fault Lines in Ethical Theory
- Actualism, Possibilism, and the Nature of Consequentialism
- Consequentialism, Blame, and Moral Responsibility
- Consequentialism and Reasons for Action
- What Should a Consequentialist Promote?
- Understanding the Demandingness Objection
- Consequentialism and Partiality
- Must I Benefit Myself?
- Supererogation and Consequentialism
- Consequentialism and Promises
- Consequentialism, Ignorance, and Uncertainty
- Consequentialism and Action Guidingness
- Consequentialism and Indeterminacy
- Value Comparability
- Consequentialism, the Separateness of Persons, and Aggregation
- The Alienation Objection to Consequentialism
- Global Consequentialism
- The Role(s) of Rules in Consequentialist Ethics
- Consequentialism, Virtue, and Character
- Population Ethics, the Mere Addition Paradox, and the Structure of Consequentialism
- Deontic Pluralism and the Right Amount of Good
- Conflicts and Cooperation in Act Consequentialism
- The Science of Effective Altruism
- Effective Altruism: A Consequentialist Case Study
- Consequentialism and Nonhuman Animals
- Public Policy, Consequentialism, the Environment, and Nonhuman Animals
- The Love–Hate Relationship between Feminism and Consequentialism
- Act Consequentialism and the No-Difference Challenge
Abstract and Keywords
Value comparability, either in the form of the kind of quantitative comparability involved in (intrapersonal or interpersonal) aggregation, or in the form of the kind of qualitative comparability involved in comparing putatively different values, has been thought to threaten the theoretical soundness of consequentialist theories. In part 2, I argue that unrestricted axiological aggregation is supported by overwhelmingly plausible assumptions about ordinary value comparisons. In particular, I argue that large numbers of small harms, such as headaches, really can outweigh small numbers of large harms, such as deaths. In part 3, I consider the challenge that qualitatively different values may be incomparable, in the sense that instances of one value may be neither better, worse, nor equal in value with instances of a different value. I argue that all values, no matter how qualitatively distinct, are either thoroughgoingly comparable or not at all (and that the latter is too implausible to take seriously).
Alastair Norcross is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Colorado Boulder, where he has taught since 2007. Prior to that, he taught at Southern Methodist University and Rice University (before being allowed out of Texas for good behavior). He works both on ethical theory and on issues in applied ethics. In ethical theory he has published extensively on consequentialism, in particular defending a scalar version of the theory. His book Morality by Degrees: Reasons without Demands (Oxford University Press, 2020) articulates and defends the scalar approach. In applied ethics he has published many articles criticizing the common practices of raising animals for food and using them in experimentation, including the widely reprinted “Puppies, Pigs, and People: Eating Meat and Marginal Cases” (Philosophical Perspectives, 2004). He also runs marathons, with somewhat less success than Eliud Kipchoge, and writes, directs, and acts in the theater, with somewhat less success than Kenneth Branagh.
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