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Summary Act-consequentialists rank acts according to how good their consequences would be and then hold that the permissibility of acts is a function of this ranking. For instance, maximizing act-utilitarians rank acts according to how much utility they would produce and then hold that an act is permissible if and only if it produces at least as much utility as that of any alternative act. Rule-consequentialists, by contrast, rank, not acts, but sets of rules according to how good their consequences would be if they were widely (or universally) accepted (or complied with) and then hold that an act is permissible if and only if it is permitted by a set of rules whose associated consequences would be at least as good as that associated with any alternative set of rules. Some key issues are (1) whether rule-consequentialism is guilty of collapsing into act-consequentialism or, if not, whether it can still be a coherent view, (2) whether rule-consequentialism can adequately deal with cases where these is only partial compliance with the ideal set of rules, (3) whether rule-consequentialism is overly demanding, and (4) whether rule-consequentialism can adequately deal with cases where abiding by one of the rules in the ideal set would have disastrous consequences. 
Key works You can get a pretty good sense of the current debate by reading both Hooker 2000 and Arneson 2005.
Introductions The best introduction, to my mind, is Hooker 2000.
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  1. Larry Alexander (2008). Scalar Properties, Binary Judgments. Journal of Applied Philosophy 25 (2):85–104.
    In the moral realm, our deontic judgments are usually (always?) binary. An act (or omission) is either morally forbidden or morally permissible. 1 Yet the determination of an act's deontic status frequently turns on the existence of properties that are matters of degree. In what follows I shall give several examples of binary moral judgments that turn on scalar properties, and I shall claim that these examples should puzzle us. How can the existence of a property to a specific degree (...)
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  2. Richard Arneson (2005). Sophisticated Rule Consequentialism: Some Simple Objections. Philosophical Issues 15 (1):235–251.
    The popularity of rule-consequentialism among philosophers has waxed and waned. Waned, mostly; at least lately. The idea that the morality that ought to claim allegiance is the ideal code of rules whose acceptance by everybody would bring about best consequences became the object of careful analysis about half a century ago, in the writings of J. J. C. Smart, John Rawls, David Lyons, Richard Brandt, Richard Hare, and others.1 They considered utilitarian versions of rule consequentialism but discovered flaws in the (...)
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  3. Robert Audi (2001). Brad Hooker, Ideal Code, Real World, Oxford, Clarendon Press, Pp. Xiii + 213. Utilitas 13 (03):357-.
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  4. R. B. Brandt (1995). Conscience (Rule) Utilitarianism and the Criminal Law. Law and Philosophy 14 (1):65 - 89.
    A rule- utilitarian appraisal of criminal law requires that the total system, including punishments, is justified only if it will expectably maximize public benefit, including its stigmatizing some behaviors as "offenses" and its prescribed punishment of these, such as imprisonment, with (possible) deterrent effects. In view of the paucity of evidence about the deterrent effect of prison sentences, some changes seem to be in order: reduction in the length of incarceration, replacement of prison by fines or restrictions on the convicted (...)
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  5. Boruch A. Brody (1967). The Equivalence of Act and Rule Utilitarianism. Philosophical Studies 18 (6):81 - 87.
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  6. R. David Broiles (1964). “Is Rule Utilitarianism Too Restricted?”. Southern Journal of Philosophy 2 (4):180-187.
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  7. Allen Buchanan (1999). Rule-Governed Institutions Versus Act-Consequentialism: A Rejoinder to Naticchia. Philosophy and Public Affairs 28 (3):258–270.
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  8. Robert F. Card (2007). Inconsistency and the Theoretical Commitments of Hooker's Rule-Consequentialism. Utilitas 19 (2):243-258.
    Rule-consequentialism is frequently regarded as problematic since it faces the following powerful dilemma: either rule-consequentialism collapses into act-consequentialism or rule-consequentialism is inconsistent. Recent defenders of this theory such as Brad Hooker provide a careful response to this objection. By explicating the nature and theoretical commitments of rule-consequentialism, I contend that these maneuvers are not successful by offering a new way of viewing the dilemma which retains its force even in light of these recent discussions. The central idea is that even (...)
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  9. Thomas Carson, Rule-Consequentialism and Demandingness: A Reply to Carson.
    Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of JSTOR's Terms and Conditions of Use, available at http://www.jstor.org/about/terms.html. JSTOR's Terms and Conditions of Use provides, in part, that unless you have obtained prior permission, you may not download an entire issue of a journal or multiple copies of articles, and you may use content in the JSTOR archive only for your personal, non-commercial use.
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  10. Thomas Carson, A Note on Hooker's "Rule Consequentialism" Thomas L. Carson.
    Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of JSTOR's Terms and Conditions of Use, available at http://www.jstor.org/about/terms.html. JSTOR's Terms and Conditions of Use provides, in part, that unless you have obtained prior permission, you may not download an entire issue of a journal or multiple copies of articles, and you may use content in the JSTOR archive only for your personal, non-commercial use.
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  11. Thomas L. Carson (1991). A Note on Hooker's "Rule Consequentialism". Mind 100 (1):117-121.
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  12. Tyler Cowen (2011). Rule Consequentialism Makes Sense After All. Social Philosophy and Policy 28 (2):212-231.
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  13. Adam Cureton (forthcoming). Making Room for Rules. Philosophical Studies:1-23.
    Kantian moral theories must explain how their most basic moral values of dignity and autonomy should be interpreted and applied to human conditions. One place Kantians should look for inspiration is, surprisingly, the utilitarian tradition and its emphasis on generally accepted, informally enforced, publicly known moral rules of the sort that help us give assurances, coordinate our behavior, and overcome weak wills. Kantians have tended to ignore utilitarian discussions of such rules mostly because they regard basic moral principles as a (...)
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  14. Lawrence Davis (1973). The Intelligibility of Rule Utilitarianism. Philosophical Studies 24 (5):343 - 349.
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  15. Judith Wagner Decew (1983). Brandt's New Defense of Rule Utilitarianism. Philosophical Studies 43 (1):101 - 116.
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  16. Ben Eggleston (2007). Conflicts of Rules in Hooker's Rule-Consequentialism. Canadian Journal of Philosophy 37 (3):329-349.
    Just about any proponent of a rule-based theory of morality must eventually confront the question of how to resolve confl icts among the rules that the theory endorses. Is there a priority rule specifying which rules must yield to which, as in Rawls’s lexical ordering of the fi rst principle of his theory of justice over the second?3 Must the agent intuitively bal-.
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  17. Donald C. Emmons (1973). Act Vs. Rule-Utilitarianism. Mind 82 (326):226-233.
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  18. Gertrude Ezorsky (1968). A Defense of Rule Utilitarianism Against David Lyons Who Insists on Tieing It to Act Utilitarianism, Plus a Brand New Way of Checking Out General Utilitarian Properties. Journal of Philosophy 65 (18):533 - 544.
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  19. Fred Feldman (1984). Hare's Proof. Philosophical Studies 45 (2):269 - 283.
  20. Fred Feldman (1980). The Principle of Moral Harmony. Journal of Philosophy 77 (3):166-179.
  21. Fred Feldman (1974). On the Extensional Equivalence of Simple and General Utilitarianism. Noûs 8 (2):185-194.
  22. Richard M. Fox (1986). Motilal Shastri's “Rule Utilitarianism”. Philosophy Research Archives 12:155-162.
    Motilal Shastri developed an ethical theory which closely resembles rule utilitarianism at roughly the same time as and yet in complete independence of English-speaking philosophers. The philosophic significance of his view lies in the manner in which he develops and justifies his position. Shastri contends that efficiency in action requires indifference or inattention to ends. He appears to use the same device for justifying rule-governed duties that Mill uses to justify a move from egoism to altruism: that actions first viewed (...)
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  23. Richard Fumerton (1990). Group Action and Act Consequentialism. Midwest Studies in Philosophy 15 (1):296-310.
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  24. Pedro Galvão (2004). Ideal Code, Real World, de Brad Hooker. Disputatio.
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  25. David P. Gauthier (1965). Rule-Utilitarianism and Randomization. Analysis 25 (3):68 - 69.
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  26. Allan F. Gibbard (1965). Rule-Utilitarianism: Merely an Illusory Alternative? Australasian Journal of Philosophy 43 (2):211 – 220.
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  27. Milton Goldinger (1967). Rule-Utilitarianism and Criminal Reform. Southern Journal of Philosophy 5 (2):103-109.
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  28. Holly S. Goldman (1978). The 'Collective' Interpretation of Utilitarian Generalization. Philosophical Studies 34 (2):207 - 209.
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  29. Holly S. Goldman (1976). Reply to Silverstein. Philosophical Studies 30 (1):57 - 61.
  30. Holly S. Goldman (1974). David Lyons on Utilitarian Generalization. Philosophical Studies 26 (2):77 - 95.
  31. George W. Harris (2003). Brad Hooker, Ideal Code, Real World:Ideal Code, Real World. Ethics 113 (4):882-885.
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  32. John C. Harsanyi (1985). Rule Utilitarianism, Equality, and Justice. Social Philosophy and Policy 2 (02):115-.
  33. John C. Harsanyi (1980). Rule Utilitarianism, Rights, Obligations and the Theory of Rational Behavior. Theory and Decision 12 (2):115-133.
  34. John C. Harsanyi (1979). Bayesian Decision Theory, Rule Utilitarianism, and Arrow's Impossibility Theorem. Theory and Decision 11 (3):289-317.
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  35. John C. Harsanyi (1977). Rule Utilitarianism and Decision Theory. Erkenntnis 11 (1):25 - 53.
    The purpose of this paper is to show how some of the controversial questions concerning utilitarianism can be clarified by the modelling techniques and the other analytical tools of decision theory (and, sometimes, of game theory). It is suggested that the moral rules of utilitarian ethics have a logical status similar to that of the normative rules (theorems) of such formal normative disciplines as decision theory and game theory.The paper argues that social utility should be defined, not in hedonistic or (...)
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  36. Edwin Hartman (1996). Justice and Rule Utilitarianism. The Ruffin Series in Business Ethics:44-47.
  37. Brad Hooker, Promises and Rule-Consequentialism.
    The duty to keep promises has many aspects associated with deontological moral theories. The duty to keep promises is non-welfarist, in that the obligation to keep a promise need not be conditional on there being a net benefit from keeping the promise—indeed need not be conditional on there being at least someone who would benefit from its being kept. The duty to keep promises is more closely connected to autonomy than directly to welfare: agents have moral powers to give themselves (...)
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  38. Brad Hooker (2007). Rule-Consequentialism and Internal Consistency: A Reply to Card. Utilitas 19 (4):514-519.
    Rule-consequentialism has been accused of either collapsing into act-consequentialism or being internally inconsistent. I have tried to develop a form of rule-consequentialism without these flaws. In this June's issue of Utilitas, Robert Card argued that I have failed. Here I assess his arguments.
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  39. Brad Hooker (2005). Reply to Arneson and McIntyre. Philosophical Issues 15 (1):264–281.
    Richard Arneson and Alison McIntyre have done me a great honor by reading my book Ideal Code, Real World so carefully.1 In addition, they have done me a great kindness by reading it sympathetically. Nevertheless, they each find the book ultimately unconvincing, though in very different ways. But the cause of their dissatisfaction with the book is not mistaken interpretation. They have interpreted the book accurately, and they have advanced penetrating criticisms of it. One group of their criticisms definitely draw (...)
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  40. Brad Hooker (2000). Ideal Code, Real World: A Rule-Consequentialist Theory of Morality. Oxford University Press.
    What are the appropriate criteria for assessing a theory of morality? In this enlightening work, Brad Hooker begins by answering this question. He then argues for a rule-consequentialist theory which, in part, asserts that acts should be assessed morally in terms of impartially justified rules. In the end, he considers the implications of rule-consequentialism for several current controversies in practical ethics, making this clearly written, engaging book the best overall statement of this approach to ethics.
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  41. Brad Hooker (1998). Rule-Consequentialism and Obligations Toward the Needy. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 79 (1):19–33.
    Most of us believe morality requires us to help the desperately needy. But most of us also believe morality doesn't require us to make enormous sacrifices in order to help people who have no special connection with us. Such self-sacrifice is of course praiseworthy, but it isn't morally mandatory. Rule-consequentialism might seem to offer a plausible grounding for such beliefs. Tim Mulgan has recently argued in _Analysis and _Pacific Philosophical Quarterly that rule-consequentialism cannot do so. This paper replies to Mulgan's (...)
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  42. Brad Hooker (1996). Ross-Style Pluralism Versus Rule-Consequentialism. Mind 105 (420):531-552.
    This paper employs (and defends where needed) a familiar four-part methodology for assessing moral theories. This methodology makes the most popular kind of moral pluralism--here called Ross-style pluralism--look extremely attractive. The paper contends, however, that, if rule-consequentialism's implications match our considered moral convictions as well as Ross-style pluralism's implications do, the methodology makes rule-consequentialism look even more attractive than Ross-style pluralism. The paper then attacks two arguments recently put forward in defence of Ross-style pluralism. One of these arguments is that (...)
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  43. Brad Hooker (1995). Rule-Consequentialism, Incoherence, Fairness. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 95:19 - 35.
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  44. Brad Hooker (1994). Is Rule-Consequentialism a Rubber Duck? Analysis 54 (2):92 - 97.
    Some things aren't what their names suggest. This is true of rubber ducks, stool pigeons, clay pigeons, hot dogs, and clothes horses. Frances Howard-Snyder's "Rule Consequentialism is a Rubber Duck" ("APQ", 30 (1993) 271-78) argues that the answer is Yes. Howard-Snyder thinks rule-consequentialism is a form of deontology, not a form of consequentialism. This thought is understandable: many recent definitions of consequentialism are such as to invite it. Thinking rule-consequentialism inferior to act-consequentialism, many philosophers, when discussing consequentialism, have had act-consequentialism (...)
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  45. Brad Hooker (1991). Rule-Consequentialism and Demandingness: A Reply to Carson. Mind 100 (2):269-276.
    This paper replies to Carson's attacks on an earlier paper of Hooker's. Carson argued that rule-consequentialism--the theory that an act is morally right if and only if it is allowed by the set of rules and corresponding virtues the having of which by everyone would bring about the best consequences considered impartially--can and does require the comfortably off to make enormous sacrifices in order to help the needy. Hooker defends rule-consequentialism against Carson's arguments.
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  46. Brad Hooker (1990). Rule-Consequentialism. Mind 99 (393):67-77.
    The theory of morality we can call full rule-consequentialism selects rules solely in terms of the goodness of their consequences and then claims that these rules determine which kinds of acts are morally wrong. George Berkeley was arguably the first rule-consequentialist. He wrote, “In framing the general laws of nature, it is granted we must be entirely guided by the public good of mankind, but not in the ordinary moral actions of our lives. … The rule is framed with respect (...)
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  47. Frances Howard-Snyder (1993). Rule Consequentialism Is a Rubber Duck. American Philosophical Quarterly 30 (3):271 - 278.
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  48. Rosalind Hursthouse (2002). Virtue Ethics Vs. Rule-Consequentialism: A Reply to Brad Hooker. Utilitas 14 (01):41-.
    In On Virtue Ethics I offered a criterion for a character trait's being a virtue according to which a virtuous character trait must conduce to, or at least not be inimical to, four ends, one of which is the continuance of the human species. I argue here that this does not commit me to homosexuality's being a vice, since homosexuality is not a character trait and hence not up for assessment as a virtue or a vice. Vegetarianism is not up (...)
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  49. Larry James (2007). Rex Martin on Mill and Rule Utilitarianism. Southwest Philosophy Review 23 (2):5-8.
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  50. Conrad D. Johnson (1991). Moral Legislation: A Legal-Political Model for Indirect Consequentialist Reasoning. Cambridge University Press.
    This is a book about moral reasoning: how we actually reason and how we ought to reason. It defends a form of "rule" utilitarianism whereby we must sometimes judge and act in moral questions in accordance with generally accepted rules, so long as the existence of those rules is justified by the good they bring about. The author opposes the currently more fashionable view that it is always right for the individual to do that which produces the most good. Among (...)
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