Consequences for Non-consequentialists

Utilitas 16 (1):1-11 (2004)

Authors
Onora O'Neill
Cambridge University
Abstract
Both consequentialist and non-consequentialist ethical reasoning have difficulties in accounting for the value of consequences. Taken neat, consequentialism is too fierce in its emphasis on success and disregard of luck, while non-consequentialism seemingly over-values inner states and undervalues actual results. In UneasyVirtue Julia Driver proposes a form of objective consequentialism which claims that characters are good if they typically (but not invariably) produce good results. This position addresses the problems moral luck raises for consequentialism, but requires some form of realism about traits of character. However, if our knowledge of mental states is ascriptive, this form of objective consequentialism may make excessive demands. Non-consequentialists may gain in so far as the theories of action to which they are typically committed are less demanding, and are built to take account of the typical or systematic connections between states of character and results of action
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DOI 10.1017/s0953820803001018
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