Utilitas 9 (2):241-248 (1997)

Authors
Frances Howard-Snyder
Western Washington University
Abstract
Objective consequentialism is often criticized because it is impossible to know which of our actions will have the best consequences. Why exactly does this undermine objective consequentialism? I offer a new link between the claim that our knowledge of the future is limited and the rejection of objective consequentialism: that ‘ought’ implies ‘can’ and we cannot produce the best consequences available to us. I support this apparently paradoxical contention by way of an analogy. I cannot beat Karpov at chess in spite of the fact that I can make each of many series of moves, at least one of which would beat him. I then respond to a series of objections. In the process I develop an account of the ‘can’ of ability. I conclude with some remarks about the bearing this attack has on subjective consequentialism
Keywords objective consequentialism
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DOI 10.1017/s0953820800005306
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References found in this work BETA

Subjectivization in Ethics.James L. Hudson - 1989 - American Philosophical Quarterly 26 (3):221 - 229.

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I Ought, Therefore I Can.Peter B. M. Vranas - 2007 - Philosophical Studies 136 (2):167-216.
Opting for the Best: Oughts and Options.Douglas W. Portmore - 2019 - New York, NY, USA: Oxford University Press.
Normativity Without Cartesian Privilege.Amia Srinivasan - 2015 - Philosophical Issues 25 (1):273-299.

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