Right motive, wrong action: Direct consequentialism and evaluative conflict [Book Review]

Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 9 (1):65 - 85 (2006)
Abstract
In this paper I look at attempts to develop forms of consequentialism which do not have a feature considered problematic in Direct Consequentialist theories (that is, those consequentialist theories that apply the criterion of rightness directly in the evaluation of any set of options). The problematic feature in question (which I refer to as ‘evaluative conflict’) is the possibility that, for example, a right motive might lead an agent to perform a wrong act. Theories aiming to avoid this phenomenon must argue that causal relationship entails motives and acts (for example) having the same moral status. I argue that attempts to ensure such ‘evaluative consistency’ are themselves deeply problematic, and that we must therefore accept evaluative conflict.
Keywords direct consequentialism  indirect consequentialism  motives  blameless wrongdoing  moral evaluation
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