Rule-consequentialism's dilemma

Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 2 (3):263-276 (1999)
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This paper examines recent attempts to defend Rule-Consequentialism against a traditional objection. That objection takes the form of a dilemma, that either Rule-Consequentialism collapses into Act-Consequentialism or it is incoherent. Attempts to avoid this dilemma based on the idea that using RC has better results than using AC are rejected on the grounds that they conflate the ideas of a criterion of rightness and a decision procedure. Other strategies, Brad Hooker's prominent amongst them, involving the thought that RC need contain no overarching concern to maximize the good are acknowledged to avoid the original dilemma, but lead to further problems of motivating and justifying RC in the absence of such a concern. The paper argues that Hooker's attempt to deal with these problems by using a 'Reflective Equilibrium plus method is unsuccessful.



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Iain Law
University of Birmingham

Citations of this work

Some moral benefits of ignorance.Jimmy Alfonso Licon - 2023 - Philosophical Psychology 36 (2):319-336.
On the Incoherence Objection to Rule-Utilitarianism.Alex Rajczi - 2016 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 19 (4):857-876.

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References found in this work

Morality and the Theory of Rational Behavior.John Harsanyi - 1977 - Social Research: An International Quarterly 44 (4):623-656.
Rule-consequentialism.Brad Hooker - 1990 - Mind 99 (393):67-77.
Rule utilitarianism and decision theory.JohnC Harsanyi - 1977 - Erkenntnis 11 (1):25 - 53.
Rule-consequentialism.Brad Hooker - 2007 - In Russ Shafer-Landau (ed.), Ethical theory: an anthology. pp. 482-492.

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