- 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
I argue that a theory is consequentialist if and only if it is, in the important respects, sufficiently similar to classical utilitarianism. Unfortunately, though, philosophers can’t seem to agree on what the important respects are. So there is no one way that the term “consequentialism” is used, but only several different ways that it’s used by various sets of philosophers with different views about what’s most important about classical utilitarianism. But if, like many philosophers, we accept that what’s most important about classical utilitarianism is that it takes the deontic statuses of actions to be a function of how various possible outcomes rank, then we can, I show, reconcile consequentialism with deontology. And I explore whether this ability to be reconciled with other theories, such as deontology, undermines the importance of the consequentialism/nonconsequentialism distinction. I then end by summarizing each of this anthology’s four parts and the issues that are explored in their corresponding chapters.
Douglas W. Portmore is Professor of Philosophy at Arizona State University. His research focuses mainly on morality, rationality, and the interconnections between the two, but he has also written on blame, well-being, moral worth, posthumous harm, moral responsibility, and the nonidentity problem. He is the author of two books: Commonsense Consequentialism: Wherein Morality Meets Rationality (Oxford University Press, 2011) and Opting for the Best: Oughts and Options (Oxford University Press, 2019).
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.
If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.