By Douglas W. Portmore
Commonsense Consequentialism is a ebook approximately morality, rationality, and the interconnections among the 2. In it, Douglas W. Portmore defends a model of consequentialism that either comports with our common sense ethical intuitions and stocks with different consequentialist theories an analogous compelling teleological belief of sensible reasons.
Broadly construed, consequentialism is the view that an act's deontic prestige relies on how its end result ranks relative to these of the on hand possible choices on a few evaluative score. Portmore argues that results will be ranked, now not in response to their impersonal price, yet in keeping with how a lot cause the appropriate agent has to hope that every consequence obtains and that, while results are ranked during this means, we arrive at a model of consequentialism which may higher account for our common-sense ethical intuitions than even many kinds of deontology can. What's extra, Portmore argues that we must always settle for this model of consequentialism, simply because we should always settle for either that an agent should be morally required to do merely what she has such a lot cause to do and that what she has so much cause to do is to accomplish the act that might produce the end result that she has such a lot cause to wish to obtain.
Although the first target of the ebook is to safeguard a specific ethical conception (viz., common sense consequentialism), Portmore defends this concept as a part of a coherent entire relating our common-sense perspectives in regards to the nature and substance of either morality and rationality. hence, it will likely be of curiosity not just to these engaged on consequentialism and different parts of normative ethics, but in addition to these operating in metaethics. past providing an account of morality, Portmore deals money owed of functional purposes, useful rationality, and the objective/subjective legal responsibility distinction.
• hugely bold in its scope, trying to systematize our puzzling over either morality and rationality.
• Develops a brand new type of consequentialist ethical conception, person who ranks results, no longer in accordance with their impersonal worth, yet in response to how a lot cause the appropriate agent has to hope that every consequence obtains. This agent-relative model of consequentialism can, it really is proven, do a greater activity of accommodating our common-sense ethical intuitions than even many models of deontology can.
• Argues that it can be crucial for normative theories with a view to review not only person activities but in addition units of activities, consisting in acts which are easy or compound, synchronous or asynchronous, consecutive or inconsecutive, prompt or temporally-extended.
• Argues that the deontic prestige of someone motion is a functionality of its function in a few greater, temporally-extended course of action, and that this course of action is to be evaluated, now not with admire as to if the agent may be in a position to practice the corresponding temporal components of the plan as they each one come up, yet with recognize as to whether, in embarking at the plan now, the agent can safe on the present time her next functionality of all of the corresponding temporal components of the plan.
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Extra resources for Commonsense Consequentialism: Wherein Morality Meets Rationality (Oxford Moral Theory)
I will use α1, α2, . . , αn to designate act-sets. I will use ai, oi, pi, ti, αi, Ai, and Oi as variables ranging over act-tokens, outcomes, prospects, times, act-sets, act-types, and sets of outcomes, respectively. Italicized letters, such as x, y, and z, will be used as variables that range over individual acts (be they types or tokens). I will sometimes use x1, x2, . . , xn to designate distinct acts. Greek letters, such as φ, χ, and ψ, range over everything for which agents can have reasons, including beliefs, desires, act-tokens, act-types, and act-sets.
If either is the case, then S’s having most reason to perform x would not entail S’s being rationally required to perform x. ” In other words, S has decisive reason to perform x if and only if S lacks sufficient reason to perform any alternative to x. 9 Interestingly, Paul Hurley has argued that Peter Singer is, despite his explicit denials of moral rationalism (see Singer 1999, pp. 289 and 308–309), implicitly committed to the view or at least to something very close to it—see Hurley 2009. 2 The argument against utilitarianism from moral rationalism The idea that utilitarianism is objectionable insofar as it is unreasonably demanding is really just a species of a much more general objection, for the objection proceeds on the assumption that moral rationalism is true, and once we accept moral rationalism, we should object to utilitarianism whenever it requires us to perform acts that we do not have decisive reason to perform, whether those acts be self-sacrificing acts or even self-benefiting acts.
Returning now to “ought,” we can better understand the objective sense of “ought” by noting that we use “ought” in this sense both when we wonder whether we ought to act as we believe that we should and when we assess, on the basis of twenty-twenty hindsight, whether we ought to have acted as we did. To illustrate, suppose that I am trying to defuse a bomb and that I am not sure whether it is the red or the green wire that I should cut. That is, I am not sure which one I must cut in order to deactivate it and which one, if cut, will detonate it.