Consequentialist Moral System

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A Consequentialist Moral System is a moral system in which normative properties (according to ethical analysis) depend only on the consequences a moral agent choice as determined by a consequentialist utility function.



References

2014

  • (Wikipedia, 2014) ⇒ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consequentialism Retrieved:2014-3-7.
    • Consequentialism is the class of normative ethical theories holding that the consequences of one's conduct are the ultimate basis for any judgement about the rightness of that conduct. Thus, from a consequentialist standpoint , a morally right act (or omission from acting) is one that will produce a good outcome, or consequence. The idea of consequentialism is commonly encapsulated in the English saying, "the ends justify the means".

      Consequentialism is usually distinguished from deontological ethics (or deontology), in that deontology derives the rightness or wrongness of one's conduct from the character of the behaviour itself rather than the outcomes of the conduct. It is also distinguished from virtue ethics, which focuses on the character of the agent rather than on the nature or consequences of the act (or omission) itself, and pragmatic ethics which treats morality like science: advancing socially over the course of many lifetimes, such that any moral criterion is subject to revision. Consequentialist theories differ in how they define moral goods.

      Some argue that consequentialist and deontological theories are not necessarily mutually exclusive. For example, T.M. Scanlon advances the idea that human rights, which are commonly considered a "deontological" concept, can only be justified with reference to the consequences of having those rights.[1] Similarly, Robert Nozick argues for a theory that is mostly consequentialist, but incorporates inviolable "side-constraints" which restrict the sort of actions agents are permitted to do.[1]

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  • (Wikipedia, 2014) ⇒ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consequentialism#Agent-focused_or_agent-neutral Retrieved:2014-9-13.
    • A fundamental distinction can be drawn between theories which require that agents act for ends perhaps disconnected from their own interests and drives and theories which permit that agents act for ends in which they have some personal interest or motivation. These are called "agent-neutral" and "agent-focused" theories respectively.

      Agent-neutral consequentialism ignores the specific value a state of affairs has for any particular agent. Thus, in an agent-neutral theory, an actor's personal goals do not count any more than anyone else's goals in evaluating what action the actor should take. Agent-focused consequentialism, on the other hand, focuses on the particular needs of the moral agent. Thus, in an agent-focused account, such as one that Peter Railton outlines, the agent might be concerned with the general welfare, but the agent is more concerned with the immediate welfare of herself and her friends and family.[1]

      These two approaches could be reconciled by acknowledging the tension between an agent's interests as an individual and as a member of various groups, and seeking to somehow optimize among all of these interests.For example, it may be meaningful to speak of an action as being good for someone as an individual but bad for them as a citizen of their town.

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  • (Wikipedia, 2014) ⇒ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consequentialism#Consequences_for_whom Retrieved:2014-9-13.
    • Moral action always has an effect on certain people or things, the consequences. Various kinds of consequentialism can be differentiated by beneficiary of the good consequences. That is, one might ask "Consequences for whom?"


  • (Wikipedia, 2014) ⇒ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consequentialism#Human-centered Retrieved:2014-9-13.
    • Many consequentialist theories may seem primarily concerned with human beings and their relationships with other human beings. However, some philosophers argue that we should not limit our ethical consideration to the interests of human beings alone. Jeremy Bentham, who is regarded as the founder of utilitarianism, argues that animals can experience pleasure and pain, thus demanding that 'non-human animals' should be a serious object of moral concern.[1] More recently, Peter Singer has argued that it is unreasonable that we do not give equal consideration to the interests of animals as to those of human beings when we choose the way we are to treat them.[2] Such equal consideration does not necessarily imply identical treatment of humans and non-humans, any more than it necessarily implies identical treatment of all humans.
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  2. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named Singer

2011


  • http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/consequentialism/#ClaUti
    • … Since classic utilitarianism reduces all morally relevant factors (Kagan 1998, 17–22) to consequences, it might appear simple. However, classic utilitarianism is actually a complex combination of many distinct claims, including the following claims about the moral rightness of acts:
      • Consequentialism = whether an act is morally right depends only on consequences (as opposed to the circumstances or the intrinsic nature of the act or anything that happens before the act).
      • Actual Consequentialism = whether an act is morally right depends only on the actual consequences (as opposed to foreseen, foreseeable, intended, or likely consequences).
      • Direct Consequentialism = whether an act is morally right depends only on the consequences of that act itself (as opposed to the consequences of the agent's motive, of a rule or practice that covers other acts of the same kind, and so on).
      • Evaluative Consequentialism = moral rightness depends only on the value of the consequences (as opposed to non-evaluative features of the consequences).
      • Hedonism = the value of the consequences depends only on the pleasures and pains in the consequences (as opposed to other goods, such as freedom, knowledge, life, and so on).
      • Maximizing Consequentialism = moral rightness depends only on which consequences are best (as opposed to merely satisfactory or an improvement over the status quo).
      • Aggregative Consequentialism = which consequences are best is some function of the values of parts of those consequences (as opposed to rankings of whole worlds or sets of consequences).
      • Total Consequentialism = moral rightness depends only on the total net good in the consequences (as opposed to the average net good per person).
      • Universal Consequentialism = moral rightness depends on the consequences for all people or sentient beings (as opposed to only the individual agent, members of the individual's society, present people, or any other limited group).
      • Equal Consideration = in determining moral rightness, benefits to one person matter just as much as similar benefits to any other person (= all who count count equally).
      • Agent-neutrality = whether some consequences are better than others does not depend on whether the consequences are evaluated from the perspective of the agent (as opposed to an observer).

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