Consequentialism, rationality and the relevant description of outcomes

Economics and Philosophy 17 (2):181-205 (2001)
Authors
Bruno Verbeek
Leiden University
Abstract
Instrumental rationality requires that an agent selects those actions that give her the best outcomes. This is the principle of consequentialism. It may be that it is not the only requirement of this form of rationality. Considerations other than the outcomes may enter the picture as well. However, the outcome(s) of an action always play a role in determining its rationality. Seen in this light consequentialism is a minimum requirement of instrumental rationality. Therefore, any theory that tries to spell out the implications of instrumental rationality, in particular expected utility theory, should subscribe to the principle of consequentialism. Or so it seems
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DOI 10.1017/S0266267101000220
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