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The Demands of Consequentialism

Oxford University Press (2001)

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  1. Demandingness and Boundaries Between Persons.Edward Harcourt - 2018 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 26 (3):437-455.
    ABSTRACTDemandingness objections to consequentialism often claim that consequentialism underestimates the moral significance of the stranger/special other distinction, mistakenly extending to strangers demands it is proper for special others to make on us, and concluding that strangers may properly demand anything of us if it increases aggregate goodness. This argument relies on false assumptions about our relations with special others. Boundaries between ourselves and special others are both a common and a good-making feature of our relations with them. Hence, demandingness objections (...)
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  • Sacrificing Value.Lisa Tessman - 2018 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 26 (3):376-398.
    ABSTRACTWhen is sacrifice – and particularly self-sacrifice – called for? This question turns out to be difficult to answer, for it tends to arise when values conflict, and hence the answer to it depends on how conflicts of values are to be resolved. If values are constructed, and if there is no single right way to construct them or prioritize them when they conflict, though there are identifiable ways in which the construction of values can go wrong, we may be (...)
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  • Provisional Sufficientarianism: Distributive Feasibility in Non-ideal Theory.Brian Carey - 2020 - Journal of Value Inquiry 54 (4):589-606.
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  • Pedro’s Significance.Christopher Woodard - 2009 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 47 (3):301-319.
    Williams’s famous story of Jim exemplifies a general class of dilemmas caused by recalcitrant agents. Like Williams himself, most commentators have focused on Jim and the idea that he has special responsibility for his actions. This paper shifts attention to Pedro, exploring his significance in the story and arguing that Jim has a reason not to shoot that depends on Pedro’s best possible response. In so doing, it sketches a new approach to the general class of dilemmas posed by recalcitrant (...)
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  • Defusing the Demandingness Objection: Unreliable Intuitions.Matthew Braddock - 2013 - Journal of Social Philosophy 44 (2):169-191.
    Dogged resistance to demanding moral views frequently takes the form of The Demandingness Objection. Premise (1): Moral view V demands too much of us. Premise (2): If a moral view demands too much of us, then it is mistaken. Conclusion: Therefore, moral view V is mistaken. Objections of this form harass major theories in normative ethics as well as prominent moral views in applied ethics and political philosophy. The present paper does the following: (i) it clarifies and distinguishes between various (...)
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  • Rationality and the Unit of Action.Christopher Woodard - 2011 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 2 (2):261-277.
    This paper examines the idea of an extended unit of action, which is the idea that the reasons for or against an individual action can depend on the qualities of a larger pattern of action of which it is a part. One concept of joint action is that the unit of action can be extended in this sense. But the idea of an extended unit of action is surprisingly minimal in its commitments. The paper argues for this conclusion by examining (...)
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  • The Demandingness of Morality: Toward a Reflective Equilibrium.Brian Berkey - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (11):3015-3035.
    It is common for philosophers to reject otherwise plausible moral theories on the ground that they are objectionably demanding, and to endorse “Moderate” alternatives. I argue that while support can be found within the method of reflective equilibrium for Moderate moral principles of the kind that are often advocated, it is much more difficult than Moderates have supposed to provide support for the view that morality’s demands in circumstances like ours are also Moderate. Once we draw a clear distinction between (...)
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  • A Contractualist Defense of Rule Consequentialism.Sanford Levy - 2013 - Journal of Philosophical Research 38:189-201.
    In this paper, I provide a defense of rule consequentialism that does not appeal to the “guiding teleological idea” according to which the final ground of moral assessment must lie in effects on well-being. My defense also avoids appeals to intuition. It is a contractualist defense. Many forms of contractualism can, with only minor tweaking, be used to defend rule consequentialism. In this paper I show how one specific form of contractualism does the job. This argument is inspired by a (...)
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  • Demandingness Objections in Ethics.Brian McElwee - 2017 - Philosophical Quarterly 67 (266):84-105.
    It is common for moral philosophers to reject a moral theory on the basis that its verdicts are unreasonably demanding—it requires too much of us to be a correct account of our moral obligations. Even though such objections frequently strike us as convincing, they give rise to two challenges: Are demandingness objections really independent of other objections to moral theories? Do standard demandingness objections not presuppose that costs borne by the comfortably off are more important than costs borne by the (...)
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  • Moral Demands and Ethical Theory: The Case of Consequentialism.Attila Tanyi - 2015 - In Barry Dainton & Howard Robinson (eds.), Bloomsbury Companion to Analytic Philosophy. Bloomsbury Academic. pp. 500-527.
    Morality is demanding; this is a platitude. It is thus no surprise when we find that moral theories too, when we look into what they require, turn out to be demanding. However, there is at least one moral theory – consequentialism – that is said to be beset by this demandingness problem. This calls for an explanation: Why only consequentialism? This then leads to related questions: What is the demandingness problematic about? What exactly does it claim? Finally, there is the (...)
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  • Accommodating Options.Seth Lazar - 2019 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 100 (1):233-255.
    Many of us think we have agent-centred options to act suboptimally. Some of these involve favouring our own interests. Others involve sacrificing them. In this paper, I explore three different ways to accommodate agent-centred options in a criterion of objective permissibility. I argue against satisficing and rational pluralism, and in favour of a principle built around sensitivity to personal cost.
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  • Demandingness, Well-Being and the Bodhisattva Path.Stephen E. Harris - 2015 - Sophia 54 (2):201-216.
    This paper reconstructs an Indian Buddhist response to the overdemandingness objection, the claim that a moral theory asks too much of its adherents. In the first section, I explain the objection and argue that some Mahāyāna Buddhists, including Śāntideva, face it. In the second section, I survey some possible ways of responding to the objection as a way of situating the Buddhist response alongside contemporary work. In the final section, I draw upon writing by Vasubandhu and Śāntideva in reconstructing a (...)
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  • Getting the Wrong Anderson? A Short and Opinionated History of New Zealand Philosophy.Charles Pigden - 2011 - In Graham Oppy & Nick Trakakis (eds.), The Antipodean Philosopher: Public Lectures on Philosophy in Australia and New Zealand. Lexington Books. pp. 169-195.
    Is the history of philosophy primarily a contribution to PHILOSOPHY or primarily a contribution to HISTORY? This paper is primarily contribution to history (specifically the history of New Zealand) but although the history of philosophy has been big in New Zealand, most NZ philosophers with a historical bent are primarily interested in the history of philosophy as a contribution to philosophy. My essay focuses on two questions: 1) How did New Zealand philosophy get to be so good? And why, given (...)
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  • The Case Against Consequentialism: Methodological Issues.Nikil Mukerji - 2013 - In Miguel Holtje, Thomas Spitzley & Wolfgang Spohn (eds.), GAP.8 Proceedings. GAP (2013). Gesellschaft für Analytische Philosophie. pp. 654-665.
    Over the years, consequentialism has been subjected to numerous serious objections. Its adherents, however, have been remarkably successful in fending them off. As I argue in this paper, the reason why the case against consequentialism has not been more successful lies, at least partly, in the methodological approach that critics have commonly used. Their arguments have usually proceeded in two steps. First, a definition of consequentialism is given. Then, objections are put forward based on that definition. This procedure runs into (...)
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  • Moral Distance in Dictators Games.Fernando Aguiar, Pablo Brañas-Garza & Luis Miller - 2008 - Judgment and Decision Making 3 (4):344-354.
    We perform an experimental investigation using a dictator game in which individuals must make a moral decision —to give or not to give an amount of money to poor people in the Third World. A questionnaire in which the subjects are asked about the reasons for their decision shows that, at least in this case, moral motivations carry a heavy weight in the decision: the majority of dictators give the money for reasons of a consequentialist nature. Based on the results (...)
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  • The Demandingness of Confucianism in the Case of Long-Term Caregiving1.William Sin - 2013 - Asian Philosophy 23 (2):166-179.
    Trends of recent demographical development show that the world's population is aging at its fastest clip ever. In this paper, I ask whether adult children should support the life of their chronically ill parents as long as it takes, and I analyze the matter with regard to the doctrine of Confucianism. As the virtue of filial piety plays a central role in the ethics of Confucianism, adult children will face stringent demands while giving care to their chronically ill parents. In (...)
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  • A Reply to My Critics.Robert Stern - 2012 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 55 (6):622-654.
    Abstract In this paper, I respond to three commentators on my book Understanding Moral Obligation: Kant, Hegel Kierkegaard. Anne Margaret Baxley focuses on my treatment of Kant, Dean Moyar on my treatment of Hegel, and William Bristow on my treatment of Kierkegaard. In this reply, I try to show how the critical points that they raise can be addressed.
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  • Lying to Care for Patients: Hegelian Tragedy or MacIntyrean Triumph?Eric Karl Oermann & Matthew Ewend - 2012 - American Journal of Bioethics 12 (3):13-14.
    The American Journal of Bioethics, Volume 12, Issue 3, Page 13-14, March 2012.
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  • Internalization and Moral Demands.William Sin - 2012 - Philosophical Studies 157 (2):163-175.
    How should we assess the burden of moral demands? A predominant assessment is provided by what Murphy calls the baseline of factual status-quo (FSQ): A moral theory is demanding if the level of agents’ well-being is reduced from the time they begin to comply perfectly with the theory. The aims of my paper are threefold. I will first discuss the limits of the FSQ baseline. Second, I suggest a different assessment, which examines moral demands from a whole-life perspective. My view (...)
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  • Rule Consequentialism and Disasters.Leonard Kahn - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 162 (2):219-236.
    Rule consequentialism (RC) is the view that it is right for A to do F in C if and only if A's doing F in C is in accordance with the the set of rules which, if accepted by all, would have consequences which are better than any alternative set of rules (i.e., the ideal code). I defend RC from two related objections. The first objection claims that RC requires obedience to the ideal code even if doing so has disastrous (...)
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  • An Analysis of Consequentialism and Deontology in the Normative Ethics of the Bhagavadgītā.Sandeep Sreekumar - 2012 - Journal of Indian Philosophy 40 (3):277-315.
    This paper identifies the different normative ethical arguments stated and suggested by Arjuna and Krishna in the Gītā , analyzes those arguments, examines the interrelations between those arguments, and demonstrates that, contrary to a common view, both Arjuna and Krishna advance ethical theories of a broad consequentialist nature. It is shown that Krishna’s ethical theory, in particular, is a distinctive kind of rule-consequentialism that takes as intrinsically valuable the twin consequences of mokṣa and lokasaṃgraha . It is also argued that (...)
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  • Challenging the Moral Status of Blood Donation.Paul C. Snelling - 2014 - Health Care Analysis 22 (4):340-365.
    The World Health Organisation encourages that blood donation becomes voluntary and unremunerated, a system already operated in the UK. Drawing on public documents and videos, this paper argues that blood donation is regarded and presented as altruistic and supererogatory. In advertisements, donation is presented as something undertaken for the benefit of others, a matter attracting considerable gratitude from recipients and the collecting organisation. It is argued that regarding blood donation as an act of supererogation is wrongheaded, and an alternative account (...)
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  • Impartial Reasons, Moral Demands.Brian McElwee - 2011 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 14 (4):457-466.
    Consequentialism is often charged with demandingness objections which arise in response to the theory’s commitment to impartiality. It might be thought that the only way that consequentialists can avoid such demandingness objections is by dropping their commitment to impartialism. However, I outline and defend a framework within which all reasons for action are impartially grounded, yet which can avoid demandingness objections. I defend this framework against what might appear to be a strong objection, namely the claim that anyone who accepts (...)
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  • Rule Consequentialism and Scope.Leonard Kahn - 2012 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 15 (5):631-646.
    Rule consequentialism (RC) holds that the rightness and wrongness of actions is determined by an ideal moral code, i.e., the set of rules whose internalization would have the best consequences. But just how many moral codes are there supposed to be? Absolute RC holds that there is a single morally ideal code for everyone, while Relative RC holds that there are different codes for different groups or individuals. I argue that Relative RC better meets the test of reflective equilibrium than (...)
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  • Integrity and Demandingness.Timothy Chappell - 2007 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 10 (3):255-265.
    I discuss Bernard Williams’ ‘integrity objection’ – his version of the demandingness objection to unreasonably demanding ‘extremist’ moral theories such as consequentialism – and argue that it is best understood as presupposing the internal reasons thesis. However, since the internal reasons thesis is questionable, so is Williams’ integrity objection. I propose an alternative way of bringing out the unreasonableness of extremism, based on the notion of the agent’s autonomy, and show how an objection to this proposal can be outflanked by (...)
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  • Aggregation, Partiality, and the Strong Beneficence Principle.Dale Dorsey - 2009 - Philosophical Studies 146 (1):139 - 157.
    Consider the Strong Beneficence Principle (SBP): Persons of affluent means ought to give to those who might fail basic human subsistence until the point at which they must give up something of comparable moral importance. This principle has been the subject of much recent discussion. In this paper, I argue that no coherent interpretation of SBP can be found. SBP faces an interpretive trilemma, each horn of which should be unacceptable to fans of SBP; SBP is either (a) so strong (...)
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  • The Rights and Wrongs of Consequentialism.Brian McElwee - 2010 - Philosophical Studies 151 (3):393 - 412.
    I argue that the strongest form of consequentialism is one which rejects the claim that we are morally obliged to bring about the best available consequences, but which continues to assert that what there is most reason to do is bring about the best available consequences. Such an approach promises to avoid common objections to consequentialism, such as demandingness objections. Nevertheless, the onus is on the defender of this approach either to offer her own account of what moral obligations we (...)
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  • 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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  • A Dilemma for Rule-Consequentialism.Jussi Suikkanen - 2008 - Philosophia 36 (1):141-150.
    Rule-consequentialists tend to argue for their normative theory by claiming that their view matches our moral convictions just as well as a pluralist set of Rossian duties. As an additional advantage, rule-consequentialism offers a unifying justification for these duties. I challenge the first part of the ruleconsequentialist argument and show that Rossian duties match our moral convictions better than the rule-consequentialist principles. I ask the rule-consequentialists a simple question. In the case that circumstances change, is the wrongness of acts determined (...)
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  • Whither Integrity II: Integrity and Impartial Morality.Greg Scherkoske - 2013 - Philosophy Compass 8 (1):40-52.
    The idea that impartial moral theories – consequentialism and Kantian ethics in particular – were objectionably hostile to a person’s integrity was famously championed by Bernard Williams nearly 40 years ago. That Williams’‘integrity objection’ has significantly shaped subsequent moral theorizing is widely acknowledged. It is less widely appreciated how this objection has helped shape recent thinking about the nature and value of integrity itself. This paper offers a critical survey of main lines of response to this objection.
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  • Consequentialism, Demandingness and the Monism of Practical Reason.Brian McElwee - 2007 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 107 (1pt3):359-374.
  • Subjective Rightness.Holly M. Smith - 2010 - Social Philosophy and Policy 27 (2):64-110.
    Twentieth century philosophers introduced the distinction between “objective rightness” and “subjective rightness” to achieve two primary goals. The first goal is to reduce the paradoxical tension between our judgments of (i) what is best for an agent to do in light of the actual circumstances in which she acts and (ii) what is wisest for her to do in light of her mistaken or uncertain beliefs about her circumstances. The second goal is to provide moral guidance to an agent who (...)
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  • Consequentialism and Permissibility.Brian Mcelwee - 2010 - Utilitas 22 (2):171-183.
    Scalar consequentialism, recently championed by Alastair Norcross, holds that the value of an action varies according to the goodness of its consequences, but eschews all judgements of moral permissibility and impermissibility. I show that the strongest version of scalar consequentialism is not vulnerable to the objection that it is insufficiently action-guiding. Instead, the principle objection to the scalar view is simply that it leaves out important and interesting ethical judgements. In demonstrating this, I counter Rob Lawlor's contention that consequentialists cannot (...)
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  • Intuitions and the Demands of Consequentialism.Matthew Tedesco - 2011 - Utilitas 23 (1):94-104.
    One response to the demandingness objection is that it begs the question against consequentialism by assuming a moral distinction between what a theory requires and what it permits. According to the consequentialist, this distinction stands in need of defense. However, this response may also beg the question, this time at the methodological level, regarding the credibility of the intuitions underlying the objection. The success of the consequentialist's response thus turns on the role we assign to intuitions in our moral methodology. (...)
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  • Decision Making in Compromise Situations: Guidelines Based on J. S. Mill's Doctrine of Political Half‐Measures.Rafael Cejudo - 2014 - Business Ethics: A European Review 23 (4):364-374.
    The purpose of this article is to offer guidelines to deal with hard choices, specifically in situations where some compromise among opposing values is inescapable. The guidelines are intended to help ethicists and practitioners to delineate different alternatives and to dismiss some of them as morally unacceptable. This article explores the view that compromises arise from negotiations but from ethical predicaments as well. For this reason, I distinguish between strategic and moral compromises. Both managers and employees are individual moral agents (...)
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  • Kant and Moral Demandingness.Marcel van Ackeren & Martin Sticker - 2015 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 18 (1):75-89.
    We discuss the demandingness of Kant’s ethics. Whilst previous discussions of this issue focused on imperfect duties, our first aim is to show that Kantian demandingness is especially salient in the class of perfect duties. Our second aim is to introduce a fine-grained picture of demandingness by distinguishing between different possible components of a moral theory which can lead to demandingness: a required process of decision making, overridingness and the stringent content of demands, due to a standpoint of moral purity. (...)
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  • Nothing in Ethics Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution? Natural Goodness, Normativity, and Naturalism.Jay Odenbaugh - 2017 - Synthese 194 (4):1031-1055.
    Foot , Hursthouse , and Thompson , along with other philosophers, have argued for a metaethical position, the natural goodness approach, that claims moral judgments are, or are on a par with, teleological claims made in the biological sciences. Specifically, an organism’s flourishing is characterized by how well they function as specified by the species to which they belong. In this essay, I first sketch the Neo-Aristotelian natural goodness approach. Second, I argue that critics who claim that this sort of (...)
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  • Is Every Action Morally Significant?John Haldane - 2011 - Philosophy 86 (3):375-404.
    One form of scepticism about the possibility of moral theory does not deny that there is something describable as ‘the conduct of life’, but it argues that there is no special ethical account to be given of this since conduct has no identifiably moral dimension. Here I explore the possibility that the problem of identifying distinctively moral aspects of action is explained by the thesis that the moral is ubiquitous; that every human action is – not ‘may be’ – morally (...)
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