About this topic
Summary Consequentialism comes in several different varieties. Besides some of the more well-known varieties (such as rule-consequentialism, satisficing consequentialism, subjective consequentialism, and agent-relative consequentialism), there are several lesser known varieties: such as virtue consequentialism (Bradley 2005), combinative consequentialism (Gustafsson 2014), progressive consequentialism (Jamieson & Elliot 2009), multiple-act consequentialism (Mendola 2006), multi-dimensional consequentialism (Peterson 2013), attitude-consequentialism (Portmore manuscript), person-based consequentialism (Roberts 2003), commonsense consequentialism (Portmore 2011), global consequentialism (Pettit & Smith 2000), justicized consequentialism (Wigley 2012), and more -- scroll below.
Key works See above.
Introductions Two good introductions to the many varieties of consequentialism are Portmore 2011 and Brink 2005.
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1 — 50 / 128
  1. added 2020-05-14
    The Self-Effacing Functionality of Blame.Matthieu Queloz - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies:1-19.
    This paper puts forward an account of blame combining two ideas that are usually set up against each other: that blame performs an important function, and that blame is justified by the moral reasons making people blameworthy rather than by its functionality. The paper argues that blame could not have developed in a purely instrumental form, and that its functionality itself demands that its functionality be effaced in favour of non-instrumental reasons for blame—its functionality is self-effacing. This notion is sharpened (...)
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  2. added 2020-03-11
    Spinozian Consequentialism of Ethics of Social Consequences.Michaela Petrufová Joppová - 2018 - Ethics and Bioethics (in Central Europe) 8 (1-2):41-50.
    The present article deals with specific normative concepts of Spinoza’s ethical system and compares them to certain aspects of the theory of ethics of social consequences. At first, a way to approach the problem of normativity in Spinoza is presented, concentrating on the obligatory character of rational - or intellectual - motives. Then, theoretical evidence is presented which links Spinoza to normative-ethical consequentialism. The basis for a consequentialist model of Spinoza’s ethics is the concept of perfection, and on this basis (...)
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  3. added 2019-12-29
    Utilitarismo.Sergio Volodia Marcello Cremaschi - 2006 - In Virgilio Melchiorre (ed.), Enciclopedia filosofica. Milan, Italy: Bompiani. pp. 11951-11958.
    A reconstruction of the origins, development and transformations in reaction to criticism of an ethical doctrine, followed by a discussion on its influence on law, political theory, economics and the social sciences.
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  4. added 2019-10-03
    Does ‘Ought’ Imply ‘Might’? How (Not) to Resolve the Conflict Between Act and Motive Utilitarianism.James Skidmore - 2018 - Philosophia 46 (1):207-221.
    Utilitarianism has often been understood as a theory that concerns itself first and foremost with the rightness of actions; but many other things are also properly subject to moral evaluation, and utilitarians have long understood that the theory must be able to provide an account of these as well. In a landmark article from 1976, Robert Adams argues that traditional act utilitarianism faces a particular problem in this regard. He argues that a on a sensible utilitarian account of the rightness (...)
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  5. added 2019-10-01
    Consequentialism and Robust Goods.Vuko Andrić - 2019 - Utilitas 31 (3):334-342.
    In this article, I critique the moral theory developed in Philip Pettit's The Robust Demands of the Good: Ethics with Attachment, Virtue, and Respect. Pettit's theory, which I label Robust-Goods Consequentialism, aims to avoid the problems but retain the attractive features of traditional consequentialist theories. The distinctive feature of Robust-Goods Consequentialism is a value theory that attempts to accommodate what Pettit calls rich goods: certain moral phenomena that can be categorized under the headings of attachment, virtue and respect. I argue (...)
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  6. added 2019-08-30
    The World Destruction Argument.Simon Knutsson - 2019 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.
    The most common argument against negative utilitarianism is the world destruction argument, according to which negative utilitarianism implies that if someone could kill everyone or destroy the world, it would be her duty to do so. Those making the argument often endorse some other form of consequentialism, usually traditional utilitarianism. It has been assumed that negative utilitarianism is less plausible than such other theories partly because of the world destruction argument. So, it is thought, someone who finds theories in the (...)
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  7. added 2019-06-06
    Measuring the Consequences of Rules: Holly M. Smith.Holly M. Smith - 2010 - Utilitas 22 (4):413-433.
    Recently two distinct forms of rule-utilitarianism have been introduced that differ on how to measure the consequences of rules. Brad Hooker advocates fixed-rate rule-utilitarianism, while Michael Ridge advocates variable-rate rule-utilitarianism. I argue that both of these are inferior to a new proposal, optimum-rate rule-utilitarianism. According to optimum-rate rule-utilitarianism, an ideal code is the code whose optimum acceptance level is no lower than that of any alternative code. I then argue that all three forms of rule-utilitarianism fall prey to two fatal (...)
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  8. added 2019-06-06
    Review of 'The Demands of Consequentialism' by T. Mulgan. [REVIEW]Bradford Hooker - unknown
  9. added 2019-06-06
    A Particular Consequentialism: Why Moral Particularism and Consequentialism Need Not Conflict: Jonas Olson and Frans Svensson.Jonas Olson - 2003 - Utilitas 15 (2):194-205.
    Moral particularism is commonly presented as an alternative to ‘principle- or rule-based’ approaches to ethics, such as consequentialism or Kantianism. This paper argues that particularists' aversions to consequentialism stem not from a structural feature of consequentialism per se, but from substantial and structural axiological views traditionally associated with consequentialism. Given a particular approach to value, there need be no conflict between moral particularism and consequentialism. We consider and reject a number of challenges holding that there is after all such a (...)
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  10. added 2019-06-06
    Biocentric Consequentialism, Pluralism, and ‘The Minimax Implication’: A Reply to Alan Carter: Robin Attfield.Robin Attfield - 2003 - Utilitas 15 (1):76-91.
    Alan Carter's recent review in Mind of my Ethics of the Global Environment combines praise of biocentric consequentialism with criticisms that it could advocate both minimal satisfaction of human needs and the extinction of ‘inessential species’ for the sake of generating extra people; Carter also maintains that as a monistic theory it is predictably inadequate to cover the full range of ethical issues, since only a pluralistic theory has this capacity. In this reply, I explain how the counter-intuitive implications of (...)
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  11. added 2019-06-06
    Practice Consequentialism: A New Twist on an Old Theory: S. Jack Odell.S. Jack Odell - 2001 - Utilitas 13 (1):86-105.
    In this paper I defend a version of consequentialism that is neither of the act nor the rule variety. I argue that most, if not all, acceptable moral rules are formulations of intricate and interrelated practices that serve to promote harmonious co-existence between human beings; that these formulations – moral rules – are shorthand abbreviations of the lengthy formulations which would be required to actually describe the extremely complicated set of prescriptions and prohibitions which comprise our ethical practices; that we (...)
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  12. added 2019-06-05
    Inegalitarian Biocentric Consequentialism, the Minimax Implication and Multidimensional Value Theory: A Brief Proposal for a New Direction in Environmental Ethics.Alan Carter - 2005 - Utilitas 17 (1):62-84.
    Perhaps the most impressive environmental ethic developed to date in any detail is Robin Attfield's biocentric consequentialism. Indeed, on first study, it appears sufficiently impressive that, before presenting any alternative theoretical approach, one would first need to establish why one should not simply embrace Attfield's. After outlining a seemingly decisive flaw in his theory, and then criticizing his response to it, this article adumbrates a very different theoretical basis for an environmental ethic: namely, a value-pluralist one. In so doing, it (...)
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  13. added 2019-06-05
    A New Way of Doing the Best That We Can: Person‐Based Consequentialism and the Equality Problem.M. A. Roberts - 2002 - Ethics 112 (2):315-350.
  14. added 2019-06-05
    The Structure of Commonsense Morality: Consequentialist or Non-Consequentialist?Douglas William Portmore - 1998 - Dissertation, University of California, Santa Barbara
    In this dissertation, I argue that commonsense morality is best understood as an agent-relative consequentialist theory, that is, as a theory according to which agents ought always to bring about what is, from their own individual perspective, the best available state of affairs. I argue that the agent-relative consequentialist can provide the most plausible explanation for why it is wrong to commit a rights violation even in order to prevent a number of other agents from committing comparable rights violations: agents (...)
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  15. added 2018-03-23
    Alternatives.Gunnar Björnsson - 2008 - Philosophical Communications.
    Manuscript originally written in 1995. Discusses various attempts to characterize alternatives relevant for deliberation and for the formulation of act-consequentialist accounts of what actions ought to be performed.
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  16. added 2018-03-12
    What Pedro Could Do.Christopher Woodard - manuscript
    This paper discusses Bernard Williams's famous case of Jim and the Indians. It contrasts two ways of diagnosing the alleged errors of Act Utilitarianism in considering this case. One approach suggests that Act Utilitarianism fails to appreciate the importance of what Jim does; it fails to understand the significance of Jim's agency. This paper favours an alternative diagnosis, according to which Act Utilitarianism fails to appreciate the importance of what Pedro could do; it fails to understand the significance of Pedro's (...)
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  17. added 2018-03-05
    Goodness and Justice. [REVIEW]Ben Bradley - 2012 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 84 (1):233-243.
    In Goodness and Justice, Joseph Mendola defends three related views in normative ethics: a novel form of consequentialism, a Bentham-style hedonism about “basic” value, and a maximin principle about the value of a world. In defending these views he draws on his views in metaethics, action theory, and the philosophy of mind. It is an ambitious and wide-ranging book. I begin with a quick explanation of Mendola’s views, and then raise some problems.
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  18. added 2018-02-17
    Human Lives Critical Essays on Consequentialist Bioethics.David S. Oderberg & Jacqueline A. Laing (eds.) - 1997 - St. Martin's Press.
    This is a series of essays critical of the utilitarian bioethics now dominating contemporary discussion. Analysing questions of moral theory as well as applied ethics this book aims to supply essays on matters as diverse as beginning and end-of-life issues as well as animal rights, the act-omission distinction and the principle of double effect in caring in medical ethics.
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  19. added 2017-06-26
    Review of Allen W. Wood's "Fichte's Ethical Thought". [REVIEW]Nedim Nomer - 2017 - Ethics 127 (4):972-978.
  20. added 2017-03-16
    Beyond Consequentialism.Alan Thomas - forthcoming - Philosophical Quarterly:pqv045.
  21. added 2017-03-16
    Love in the Time of Consequentialism.Barry Maguire - 2017 - Noûs 51 (4):686-712.
    There are several powerful motivations for neutral value-based deontic theories such as Act Consequentialism. Traditionally, such theories have had great difficulty accounting for partiality towards one's personal relationships and projects. This paper presents a neutral value-based theory that preserves the motivations for Act Consequentialism while vindicating some crucial intuitions about reasons to be partial. There are two central ideas. The first is that when it comes to working out what you ought to do, your friends’ interests, the needs of your (...)
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  22. added 2017-03-16
    The Dimensions of Consequentialism: Reply to Schmidt, Brown, Howard-Snyder, Crisp, Andric and Tanyi, and Gertken.Martin Peterson - 2016 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 19 (1):71-82.
    In this article I respond to comments and objections raised in the special issue on my book The Dimensions of Consequentialism. I defend my multi-dimensional consequentialist theory against a range of challenges articulated by Thomas Schmidt, Campbell Brown, Frances Howard-Snyder, Roger Crisp, Vuko Andric and Attila Tanyi, and Jan Gertken. My aim is to show that multi-dimensional consequentialism is, at least, a coherent and intuitively plausible alternative to one-dimensional theories such as utilitarianism, prioritarianism, and mainstream accounts of egalitarianism. I am (...)
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  23. added 2017-03-16
    Can Consequentialism Require Selfishness?Ryan W. Davis - 2016 - Journal of Philosophical Research 41:239-262.
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  24. added 2017-03-16
    What If I Cannot Make a Difference (and Know It).Felix Pinkert - 2015 - Ethics 125 (4):971-998.
    When several agents together produce suboptimal outcomes, yet no individual could have made a difference for the better, Act Consequentialism counterintuitively judges that all involved agents act rightly. I address this problem by supplementing Act Consequentialism with a requirement of modal robustness: Agents not only ought to produce best consequences in the actual world, but they also ought to be such that they would act optimally in certain counterfactual scenarios. I interpret this Modally Robust Act Consequentialism as Act Consequentialism plus (...)
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  25. added 2017-03-16
    Aggregative Consequentialism.Roger Chao - 2015 - Southwest Philosophy Review 31 (2):125-136.
    One of the major arguments against Act consequentialism is that it has counterintuitive implications in many kinds of cases. One of the methods of avoiding these counterintuitive verdicts is through the use of a “Generalization Argument” such as that proposed by Marcus Singer in his (1961) book Generalization in Ethics, which is intended to be an improved version of the traditional “What if everyone did that?” approach to moral theory. This Generalization Argument, however, also has counterintuitive implications due to over-generalizing. (...)
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  26. added 2017-03-16
    Meaning in Consequences.Mark Wells - 2015 - Journal of Philosophy of Life 5 (3):169-179.
    This paper aims to respond on behalf of consequentialist theories of meaning in life to criticisms raised by Thaddeus Metz and, in doing so, demonstrates how the debate over theories of meaning in life might make progress. By using conceptual resources developed for consequentialist theories of morality, I argue that Metz’s general arguments against consequentialist theories of meaning in life fail. That is, some consequentialist theories can accommodate Metz’s criticisms. However, using conceptual resources developed in debate concerning consequentialist theories of (...)
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  27. added 2017-03-16
    A Defence of Average Utilitarianism.Michael Pressman - 2015 - Utilitas 27 (4):389-424.
    Seemingly every theory of population ethics is confronted with unpalatable implications. While various approaches to the subject have been taken, including non-consequentialist approaches, this area has been dominated by utilitarian thought. The two main approaches to population ethics have been total utilitarianism () and average utilitarianism (). According to TU, we should seek to bring about the state of affairs that maximizes the total amount of happiness. According to AU, we should seek to bring about the state of affairs that (...)
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  28. added 2017-03-16
    Consequentialism, War, and National Defense.W. H. Shaw - 2014 - Journal of International Political Theory 10 (1):20-37.
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  29. added 2017-03-16
    Deep Down: Consequentialist Assumptions Underlying Policy Differences.Zeljka Buturovic - 2012 - Critical Review 24 (2):269-289.
    A conditional survey establishes a preliminary case for believing that policy differences are to some extent driven by fundamental beliefs about empirical aspects of society and economics. The survey shows willingness in about a third of all respondents to shift their expressed policy preferences when asked a hypothetical question positing negative consequences of their initial preferences. This suggests that assumptions about the consequences of public policies may play as important a role in policy preferences, or a more important role, than (...)
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  30. added 2017-03-16
    Well-Being and Morality: Essays in Honour of James Griffin.G. Cullity - 2002 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 80 (4):538-540.
    Book Information Well-Being and Morality: Essays in Honour of James Griffin. Edited by Roger Crisp and Brad Hooker. Clarendon Press. Oxford. 2000. Pp. xii + 316. Hardback, £35.
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  31. added 2017-03-16
    Achievement, Welfare and Consequentialism.D. McNaughton & P. Rawling - 2001 - Analysis 61 (2):156-162.
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  32. added 2017-03-16
    Kantian Consequentialism.David Cummiskey - 1996 - Oup Usa.
    This book attempts to derive a strong consequentialist moral theory from Kantian foundations. It thus challenges the prevailing view that Kant's moral theory is hostile to consequentialism, and brings together the two main opposing tendencies in modern moral theory.
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  33. added 2017-03-16
    Parfit on Directly Collectively Self-Defeating Moral Theories.Joseph Mendola - 1986 - Philosophical Studies 50 (1):153 - 166.
  34. added 2017-03-16
    Utilitarianism and Co-Operation by Donald Reagan. [REVIEW]Earl Conee - 1983 - Journal of Philosophy 80 (7):415-424.
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  35. added 2017-03-16
    Marx and Aristotle: A Kind of Consequentialism.Richard W. Miller - 1981 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 11 (sup1):323-352.
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  36. added 2017-03-16
    Is Life Worth Living?W. H. Mallock - 1879 - Chatto & Windus.
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  37. added 2016-12-12
    Goodness and Justice: A Consequentialist Moral Theory.Joseph Mendola - 2006 - Cambridge University Press.
    In Goodness and Justice, Joseph Mendola develops a unified moral theory that defends the hedonism of classical utilitarianism, while evading utilitarianism's familiar difficulties by adopting two modifications. His theory incorporates a developed form of consequentialism. When, as is common, someone is engaged in conflicting group acts, it requires that one perform one's role in that group act that is most beneficent. The theory also holds that overall value is distribution-sensitive, ceding maximum weight to the well-being of the worst-off sections of (...)
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  38. added 2016-12-08
    Is Reliabilism a Form of Consequentialism?Jeffrey Dunn & Kristoffer Ahlstrom-Vij - 2017 - American Philosophical Quarterly.
    Reliabilism -- the view that a belief is justified iff it is produced by a reliable process -- is often characterized as a form of consequentialism. Recently, critics of reliabilism have suggested that, since a form of consequentialism, reliabilism condones a variety of problematic trade-offs, involving cases where someone forms an epistemically deficient belief now that will lead her to more epistemic value later. In the present paper, we argue that the relevant argument against reliabilism fails because it equivocates. While (...)
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  39. added 2016-12-08
    Kantian Consequentialism.Lara Denis - 1998 - Philosophical Review 107 (1):130.
    In Kantian Consequentialism, David Cummiskey proposes a novel solution to what he describes as “the central problem for normative ethics”: the tension between our belief that we should bring about the best possible consequences and our belief that we should respect individuals. Cummiskey argues that Kantian ethics, properly reconstructed, resolves this tension: central tenets of Kant’s theory ground a “Kantian consequentialism,” which satisfies our interests in respecting persons and doing as much good as we can.
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  40. added 2016-12-05
    From Consequentialism to Utilitarianism.Martin Peterson - 2003 - Journal of Philosophy 100 (8):403 - 415.
    In this article, we show that total act utilitarianism can be derived from a set of axioms that are (or ought to be) acceptable for anyone subscribing to the basic ideals of consequentialism.
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  41. added 2016-08-20
    Deweyan Scientism and Romantic Consequentialism.Aaron Papenhausen - 2002 - Gnosis 6 (1):1-14.
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  42. added 2016-08-20
    Cummiskey, D.-Kantian Consequentialism.J. D. G. Evans - 1998 - Philosophical Books 39:128-129.
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  43. added 2016-08-20
    Minimal Consequentialism, Peter Caws.Wild Justice - 1995 - Philosophy 70 (3).
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  44. added 2016-05-29
    Course of Action Utilitarianism.Eric B. Dayton - 1979 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 9 (4):671 - 684.
    The way individual actions enter into larger courses of action often has an effect on the utility of those individual actions. This simple fact has motivated recent discussions about the intelligibility of act-utilitarianism. It has become clear that act-utilitarianism is incomplete, if not intelligible, without an account of the utility-making properties of courses of action taken as a whole. In this paper I offer a brief discussion of the difficulties of a simple act-utilitarianism and then offer three complementary principles in (...)
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  45. added 2016-05-17
    A New Argument Against Rule Consequentialism.Christopher Woodard - 2008 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 11 (3):247-261.
    We best understand Rule Consequentialism as a theory of pattern-based reasons, since it claims that we have reasons to perform some action because of the goodness of the pattern consisting of widespread performance of the same type of action in the same type of circumstances. Plausible forms of Rule Consequentialism are also pluralist, in the sense that, alongside pattern-based reasons, they recognise ordinary act-based reasons, based on the goodness of individual actions. However, Rule Consequentialist theories are distinguished from other pluralist (...)
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  46. added 2016-05-17
    Reasons, Patterns, and Cooperation.Christopher Woodard - 2007 - Routledge.
    This book is about fundamental questions in normative ethics. It begins with the idea that we often respond to ethical theories according to how principled or pragmatic they are. It clarifies this contrast and then uses it to shed light on old debates in ethics, such as debates about the rival merits of consequentialist and deontological views. Using the idea that principled views seem most appealing in dilemmas of acquiescence, it goes on to develop a novel theory of pattern-based reasons. (...)
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  47. added 2016-04-10
    Variabilism Is Not the Solution to the Asymmetry.Per Algander - 2015 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 4 (1):1-9.
    According to “the asymmetry”, the fact that a future person would have a life not worth living counts against bringing that person into existence but the fact that a future person would have a life worth living does not count in favour of bringing that person into existence. While this asymmetry seems intuitive, it is also puzzling: if we think that it is of moral importance to prevent people from living lives not worth living, shouldn't we also that it is (...)
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  48. added 2016-04-10
    Roger Crisp and Brad Hooker , Well-Being and Morality: Essays in Honour of James Griffin.G. Cullity - unknown
    Book Information Well-Being and Morality: Essays in Honour of James Griffin. Edited by Roger Crisp and Brad Hooker. Clarendon Press. Oxford. 2000. Pp. xii + 316. Hardback, £35.
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  49. added 2016-04-10
    The Meaning of 'Good' and the Possibility of Value.Philip Clark - 2002 - Philosophical Studies 108 (1-2):31 - 38.
    Moore held that to call something good is to ascribe a property to it. But he denied that the property could be expressed in non-evaluative terms. Can one accept this view of the meaning of good without falling into skepticism about whether anything can be, or be known to be, good? I suggest a way of doing this. The strategy combines the idea that good is semantically entangled, as opposed to semantically isolated, with the idea that rational agents have a (...)
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  50. added 2016-04-10
    Which Consequences Count in Consequentialism?Dennis Roger Cooley - 1995 - Dissertation, The University of Rochester
    The problem of mediated consequences is perhaps the most daunting obstacle that all utilitarian theories face. An act, A's, consequences are mediated when another agent acts as a result of action A being done. The problem is to justify when the mediated consequences should count in determining the agent's obligations and when they should not. For some utilitarian theories, an agent may fail in his moral responsibilities even if he does not realize which consequences will occur as a result of (...)
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