Consciousness Thought

Beyond Consequentialism by Paul Hurley

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By Paul Hurley

Consequentialism, the speculation that morality calls for us to advertise the easiest 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 likely to disregard a basic problem to consequentialism. the traditional 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 usually have decisive purposes to do what morality calls for, then consequentialism can't be the right kind 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 equipped upon a collection of sophisticated and together reinforcing blunders. via exposing those blunders and misappropriations, he undermines consequentialist arguments opposed to substitute techniques that realize a notion of impartiality applicable to the evaluate of activities that's specified from the impartiality acceptable to the review of results. an ethical idea that acknowledges a primary function for this type of particular notion of impartiality can account for the rational authority of ethical criteria, yet does so, Hurley argues, through taking morality past consequentialism in either its commonplace and non-standard kinds.

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If impersonal value sets the standard for right action, any claim to the rational authority of such a standard is threatened by the account of practical reason and deliberation that is presupposed in the articulation of that very standard. This suggests that the standpoint of moral requirement cannot be fundamentally impersonal if moral requirements have rational authority. It may be thought that movement by recent consequentialists beyond the traditional narrow monistic account of value to an account that can recognize the significance of a plurality of intrinsic values in the evaluation of states of affairs, including rights and respect for persons as ends in themselves, for example, along with happiness or well-being, can avoid Williams’ criticisms.

These commitments cannot readily be reconciled to CMS, hence it is no surprise that advocates of such theories reject such a consequentialist 20 beyond consequentialism theory of moral standards. Consequentialists, by contrast, take there to be a powerful set of considerations in support of this third member of the triad. Surely it is always right to do what is best? Consequentialism can seem to be merely the obvious interpretation of such a powerful general intuition. Similarly, prudence may seem to require that I do what is best for me, but isn’t it also clear that morality appeals to what is best simpliciter?

But such a consequentialist can also insist, seemingly with great plausibility, that the agent’s own happiness and overall happiness frequently fail to coincide, and that in such cases the rational agent has decisive reasons not to bring about the best overall consequences, hence not to do what morality on her view requires. The right action is the action that conforms to the standards of morality, and wrong actions fail to conform to such standards, but there is no claim on such a version of consequentialism that the agent typically has decisive reasons to conform her actions to such standards.

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