The Probabilistic Nature of Objective Consequentialism

Theoria 73 (1):46 - 67 (2008)
Theorists have consistently maintained that the most plausible forms of objective consequentialism must be probabilistic if and only if indeterminism is true. This standard position, however popular, lacks sufficient motivation. Assume determinism to be true and an attempt will be made to show that attractive forms of objective consequentialism must be probabilistic - and not for reasons related to our epistemic limitations either. Here it is argued that all extant objective formulations of consequentialism fail to deliver the normative implications that the spirit of objective consequentialism requires. My argument rests upon the claim that certain pairs of subjunctive conditionals with identical antecedents and incompatible consequents are such that neither of the pair is true. Upon leveling the objection, the concept of an "objective" subjunctive probability is introduced and utilized in the transformation of a subjective version of expected act utility consequentialism into an objective version, one that is capable of dealing with the difficulties posed by the objection. I end by indicating some ways in which the closest thing to a plausible, objective form of consequentialism might be developed.
Keywords subjunctive  objective  consequentialism  probability  utilitarianism
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1111/j.1755-2567.2007.tb01187.x
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 24,479
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

View all 25 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

65 ( #75,119 of 1,925,752 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

19 ( #30,766 of 1,925,752 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.