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.
Related categories

123 found
1 — 50 / 123
  1. 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.
  2. 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 (...)
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. added 2017-06-26
    Review of Allen W. Wood's "Fichte's Ethical Thought". [REVIEW]Nedim Nomer - 2017 - Ethics 127 (4):972-978.
  6. added 2017-03-16
    Beyond Consequentialism.Alan Thomas - forthcoming - Philosophical Quarterly:pqv045.
  7. added 2017-03-16
    Can Consequentialism Require Selfishness? In Advance.Ryan W. Davis - forthcoming - Journal of Philosophical Research.
  8. 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 (...)
  9. 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 (...)
  10. 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 (...)
  11. 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 (...)
  12. 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 (...)
  13. 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. (...)
  14. added 2017-03-16
    Consequentialism, War, and National Defense.W. H. Shaw - 2014 - Journal of International Political Theory 10 (1):20-37.
  15. 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 (...)
  16. added 2017-03-16
    Review of 'The Demands of Consequentialism' by T. Mulgan. [REVIEW]Bradford Hooker - unknown
  17. 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.
  18. added 2017-03-16
    Achievement, Welfare and Consequentialism.D. McNaughton & P. Rawling - 2001 - Analysis 61 (2):156-162.
  19. 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.
  20. added 2017-03-16
    Parfit on Directly Collectively Self-Defeating Moral Theories.Joseph Mendola - 1986 - Philosophical Studies 50 (1):153 - 166.
  21. added 2017-03-16
    Utilitarianism and Co-Operation by Donald Reagan. [REVIEW]Earl Conee - 1983 - Journal of Philosophy 80 (7):415-424.
  22. added 2017-03-16
    Marx and Aristotle: A Kind of Consequentialism.Richard W. Miller - 1981 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 11 (sup1):323-352.
  23. added 2017-03-16
    Is Life Worth Living?W. H. Mallock - 1879 - Chatto & Windus.
  24. 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 (...)
  25. 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 (...)
  26. added 2016-12-08
    Kantian Consequentialism.Lara Denis & David Cummiskey - 1998 - Philosophical Review 107 (1):130.
  27. 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.
  28. added 2016-08-20
    Deweyan Scientism and Romantic Consequentialism.Aaron Papenhausen - 2002 - Gnosis 6 (1):1-14.
  29. added 2016-08-20
    Cummiskey, D.-Kantian Consequentialism.J. D. G. Evans - 1998 - Philosophical Books 39:128-129.
  30. added 2016-08-20
    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 (...)
  31. added 2016-08-20
    Minimal Consequentialism, Peter Caws.Wild Justice - 1995 - Philosophy 70 (3).
  32. added 2016-05-29
    Course of Action Utilitarianism.Eric B. Dayton - 1979 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 9 (4):671 - 684.
  33. 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 (...)
  34. 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. (...)
  35. 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 (...)
  36. 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.
  37. 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 (...)
  38. 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 (...)
  39. added 2016-01-05
    Ein Plädoyer für den Rechtsnormen-Konsequentialismus.Vuko Andrić & Martin Kerz - 2014 - Archiv für Rechts- Und Sozialphilosophie 140:87-98.
    How can legal norms be morally evaluated? In this paper we discuss and defend consequentialism about legal norms. According to this doctrine, the legitimacy of legal norms depends entirely on the consequences of the norms’ validity. Consequentialism about legal norms shares the advantages of both act- and rule-consequentialism while avoiding the respective disadvantages. In particular, consequentialism about legal norms has prima-facie plausibility like act-consequentialism and for similar reasons: it qualifies as a version of collective act-consequentialism. At the same time, the (...)
  40. added 2015-04-26
    Must Kantian Contractualism and Rule-Consequentialism Converge?Brad Hooker - 2014 - Oxford Studies in Normative Ethics 4:34-52.
    Derek Parfit’s On What Matters endorses Kantian Contractualism, the normative theory that everyone ought to follow the rules that everyone could rationally will that everyone accept. This paper explores Parfit’s argument that Kantian Contractualism converges with Rule Consequentialism. A pivotal concept in Parfit’s argument is the concept of impartiality, which he seems to equate agent-neutrality. This paper argues that equating impartiality and agent-neutrality is insufficient, since some agent-neutral considerations are silly and some are not impartial. Perhaps more importantly, there is (...)
  41. added 2015-04-24
    Multi-Dimensional Consequentialism and Degrees of Rightness.Vuko Andrić & Attila Tanyi - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (3):711-731.
    In his recent book, The Dimensions of Consequentialism, Martin Peterson puts forward a new version of consequentialism that he dubs ‘multidimensional consequentialism’. The defining thesis of the new theory is that there are irreducible moral aspects that jointly determine the deontic status of an act. In defending his particular version of multidimensional consequentialism, Peterson advocates the thesis—he calls it DEGREE—that if two or more moral aspects clash, the act under consideration is right to some non-extreme degree. This goes against the (...)
  42. added 2014-07-09
    Review of Martin Peterson's The Dimensions of Consequentialism. [REVIEW]Douglas W. Portmore - forthcoming - Journal of Moral Philosophy.
  43. added 2014-06-23
    Consequentialist Options.Jussi Suikkanen - 2014 - Utilitas 26 (3):276-302.
    According to traditional forms of act-consequentialism, an action is right if and only if no other action in the given circumstances would have better consequences. It has been argued that this view does not leave us enough freedom to choose between actions which we intuitively think are morally permissible but not required options. In the first half of this article, I will explain why the previous consequentialist responses to this objection are less than satisfactory. I will then attempt to show (...)
  44. added 2014-05-21
    Willpower Satisficing.Richard Yetter Chappell - 2017 - Noûs.
    Satisficing Consequentialism is often rejected as hopeless. Perhaps its greatest problem is that it risks condoning the gratuitous prevention of goodness above the baseline of what qualifies as "good enough". I propose a radical new willpower-based version of the view that avoids this problem, and that better fits with the motivation of avoiding an excessively demanding conception of morality. I further demonstrate how, by drawing on the resources of an independent theory of blameworthiness, we may obtain a principled specification of (...)
  45. added 2014-05-15
    Foundational Consequentialism and Its Primary Evaluative Focal Point.Douglas W. Portmore - manuscript
    Following Shelly Kagan’s useful terminology, foundational consequentialists are those who hold that the ranking of outcomes is at the foundation of all moral assessment. That is, they hold that moral assessments of right and wrong, virtuous and vicious, morally good and morally bad, etc. are all ultimately a function of how outcomes rank. But foundational consequentialists disagree on what is to be directly evaluated in terms of the ranking of outcomes, which is to say that they disagree on what the (...)
  46. added 2014-04-02
    Should Utilitarianism Be Scalar?Gerald Lang - 2013 - Utilitas 25 (1):80-95.
    Scalar utilitarianism, a form of utilitarianism advocated by Alastair Norcross, retains utilitarianism's evaluative commitments while dispensing with utilitarianism's deontic commitments, or its commitment to the existence or significance of moral duties, obligations and requirements. This article disputes the effectiveness of the arguments that have been used to defend scalar utilitarianism. It is contended that Norcross's central does not succeed, and it is suggested, more positively, that utilitarians cannot easily distance themselves from deontic assessment, just as long as scalar utilitarians admit (...)
  47. added 2014-04-02
    The Limits of Consequentialism.Donald C. Hubin - 2008 - Proceedings of the Xxii World Congress of Philosophy 10:167-176.
    Modern consequentialism is a very broad theory. Consequentialists can invoke a distribution sensitive theory of value to address the issues of distributive justice that bedeviled utilitarianism. They can attach intrinsic moral value to such acts truth-telling and promise-keeping and, so, acknowledge the essential moral significance of such acts in a way that classical utilitarianism could not. It can appear that there are no limits to consequentialism’s ability to respond to the criticisms against utilitarian theories by embracing a sophisticated theory of (...)
  48. added 2014-04-02
    Adjusting Utility for Justice: A Consequentialist Reply to the Objection From Justice.Fred Feldman - 1995 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 55 (3):567-585.
  49. added 2014-03-31
    Good and Bad Actions.Alastair Norcross - 1997 - Philosophical Review 106 (1):1-34.
    It is usually assumed to be possible, and sometimes even desirable, for consequentialists to make judgments about both the rightness and the goodness of actions. Whether a particular action is right or wrong is one question addressed by a consequentialist theory such as utilitarianism. Whether the action is good or bad, and how good or bad it is, are two others. I will argue in this paper that consequentialism cannot provide a satisfactory account of the goodness of actions, on the (...)
  50. added 2014-03-29
    The Heart of Consequentialism.Frances Howard-Snyder - 1994 - Philosophical Studies 76 (1):107 - 129.
1 — 50 / 123