A utilitarian theory of excuses

Philosophical Review 78 (3):337-361 (1969)
Abstract
The article explains a rule-Utilitarian normative thesis about when actions are morally excused; that an act otherwise morally objectionable in some way is excused if a moral system, The acceptance of which in the agent's society would be utility-Maximizing, Would not condemn it. What is meant by a "moral system condemning" an action is explained. The parallel between this moral thesis and the benthamite theory of criminal justice is developed. It is argued that this rule-Utilitarian thesis implies that an action is morally excused (not blameworthy) if it does not manifest a defective trait of character
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