How Satisficers Get Away with Murder

International Journal of Philosophical Studies 9 (1):41 – 46 (2001)
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Abstract

Traditional Consequentialism is based on a demanding principle of impartial maximization. Michael Slote's 'Satisficing Consequentialism' aims to reduce the demands of Consequentialism, by no longer requiring us to bring about the best possible outcome. This paper presents a new objection to Satisficing Consequentialism. We begin with a simple thought experiment, in which an agent must choose whether to save the lives of ten innocent people by using a sand bag or by killing an innocent person. The main aim of the paper is to demonstrate that, if it is to avoid making unreasonable demands, Satisficing Consequentialism must allow such an agent to kill. It is argued that this result is much more counter-intuitive than the fact that Maximizing Consequentialism permits agents to kill in order to produce the best consequences. The conclusion is that Satisficing Consequentialism is not an acceptable moral theory.

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Tim Mulgan
University of Auckland

Citations of this work

Can God Satisfice?Klass Kraay - 2013 - American Philosophical Quarterly 50 (4):399-410.
Two paradoxes of bounded rationality.David Thorstad - 2022 - Philosophers' Imprint 22.
The Wrongness of Killing.Rainer Ebert - 2016 - Dissertation, Rice University

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References found in this work

Slote's Satisficing Consequentialism.Tim Mulgan - 1993 - Ratio 6 (2):121 - 134.

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