Consequentialism and Decision Procedures

Dissertation, University of Oxford (2005)

Authors
Toby Ord
Oxford University
Abstract
Consequentialism is often charged with being self-defeating, for if a person attempts to apply it, she may quite predictably produce worse outcomes than if she applied some other moral theory. Many consequentialists have replied that this criticism rests on a false assumption, confusing consequentialism’s criterion of the rightness of an act with its position on decision procedures. Consequentialism, on this view, does not dictate that we should be always calculating which of the available acts leads to the most good, but instead advises us to decide what to do in whichever manner it is that will lead to the best outcome. Whilst it is typically afforded only a small note in any text on consequentialism, this reply has deep implications for the practical application of consequentialism, perhaps entailing that a consequentialist should eschew calculation altogether.
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References found in this work BETA

Reasons and Persons.Derek Parfit - 1984 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 47 (2):311-327.
Alienation, Consequentialism, and the Demands of Morality.Peter Railton - 1984 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 13 (2):134-171.
The Concept of Moral Obligation.Michael J. Zimmerman - 1996 - Philosophical and Phenomenological Research 60 (1):242-244.

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