- 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
Act consequentialism provides an answer to the question of what one ought to do, no matter which situation one is in. The problem, however, is that this answer is rarely if ever known by the agent herself. Ordinary agents do not know all the consequences of their actions, nor do they know how to assess all possible consequences. This lack of both empirical and evaluative knowledge means that ordinary agents often, or always, do not know what act consequentialism tells them to do. This “ignorance challenge,” as we might call it, is often seen as one of the main challenges for act consequentialism. This chapter discusses the main responses to this challenge. It also asks whether this challenge is unique to consequentialism.
Krister Bykvist is Professor of Practical Philosophy at Stockholm University, and Research Fellow at the Institute for Futures Studies, Stockholm. His primary interests are in moral philosophy broadly conceived. Most of his research is on topics in normative ethics, including consequentialism, utilitarianism, population ethics, climate ethics, prudence, and well-being. In metaethics, he has done work on noncognitivism, the nature of intrinsic goodness, and the normativity of mental states. More recently, he has done work on moral uncertainty. He has coauthored a book on this topic entitled Moral Uncertainty, to be published by Oxford University Press (release date February 2020). He has also written a book on utilitarianism, entitled Utilitarianism: A Guide for the Perplexed (Continuum, 2010).
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