Consecuencialismo, por qué no

Review of Metaphysics 55 (2):378-379 (2001)

Dr. Barraza submits a detailed study of utilitarianism and its offspring, consequentialism, and purports to show why it is not an acceptable moral system. As G. Anscombe pointed out, it arose when ethics was no longer based on the virtues and people looked for a way to evaluate moral actions in conformity with the predominant technological outlook. Consequentialism holds that the criterion of morality is that of the best overall result possible, whereas for utilitarianists it is the greatest amount of pleasure, satisfaction, or happiness. John Stewart Mill’s utilitarianism is examined in great detail. Mill felt that the criterion of morality cannot be something intuitively known, but has to be easily recognizable, as, for instance, the consequences of our acts, namely the greatest happiness proper to man as a human being. Mill experienced some difficulties when trying to integrate duties with regard to others. His answers to eight objections raised against his theory are seen as insufficient by Barraza, as is Mill’s justification of the principle of “the greatest happiness.” Mill’s ethics is profoundly marked by the spirit of the Enlightenment, that is, by a type of rationalism related to the empirical sciences; everything was to be explained by one simple principle, without any reference to religion. Important points in the system are the stress on freedom and equality, freedom being the primary value. Mill seeks to secure the greatest possible space for personal freedom, which, however, is limited by the interests of others. Equality results from impartiality which demands that the happiness of the agent is not placed above that of others. Furthermore, Mill’s ethics is characterized by its optimism and its social orientation, aiming as it does at the well-being of the greatest number. However, despite a semblance of coherence Mill’s work is full of ambiguities. A glaring difficulty is that the intention of the agent has nothing to do with the results and their evaluation.
Keywords Catholic Tradition  Contemporary Philosophy  General Interest
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ISBN(s) 0034-6632
DOI revmetaph2001552135
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