Commonsense Consequentialism: Wherein Morality Meets by Douglas W. Portmore

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 a similar compelling teleological perception of sensible reasons.

Broadly construed, consequentialism is the view that an act's deontic prestige relies on how its consequence ranks relative to these of the to be had choices on a few evaluative score. Portmore argues that results might be ranked, now not in line with their impersonal worth, yet in line with how a lot cause the appropriate agent has to wish that every final result obtains and that, whilst results are ranked during this means, we arrive at a model of consequentialism that could greater account for our common-sense ethical intuitions than even many sorts of deontology can. What's extra, Portmore argues that we should always settle for this model of consequentialism, simply because we should always settle for either that an agent could be morally required to do simply what she has so much cause to do and that what she has such a lot cause to do is to accomplish the act that will produce the result that she has so much cause to need to obtain.

Although the first target of the e-book is to guard a specific ethical concept (viz., common sense consequentialism), Portmore defends this concept as a part of a coherent complete pertaining to our common sense perspectives concerning the nature and substance of either morality and rationality. therefore, it will likely be of curiosity not just to these engaged on consequentialism and different components of normative ethics, but additionally to these operating in metaethics. past delivering an account of morality, Portmore bargains bills of functional purposes, functional rationality, and the objective/subjective legal responsibility distinction.

• hugely bold in its scope, trying to systematize our wondering either morality and rationality.
• Develops a brand new type of consequentialist ethical idea, person who ranks results, no longer in accordance with their impersonal worth, yet in accordance with how a lot cause the suitable agent has to wish that every final result obtains. This agent-relative model of consequentialism can, it truly is proven, do a greater task of accommodating our common sense ethical intuitions than even many types of deontology can.
• Argues that it is vital for normative theories so as to assessment not only person activities but in addition units of activities, consisting in acts which are easy or compound, synchronous or asynchronous, consecutive or inconsecutive, instant or temporally-extended.
• Argues that the deontic prestige of a person motion is a functionality of its function in a few higher, temporally-extended course of action, and that this course of action is to be evaluated, now not with appreciate as to whether the agent might 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 elements of the plan.

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Additional resources for Commonsense Consequentialism: Wherein Morality Meets Rationality (Oxford Moral Theory)

Sample text

23 So I readily admit that the objective “ought” is neither the one that figures most prominently in our first-person practical delib- 20 Here, I am using “ought to φ” in a sense that does not imply a requirement to φ. For instance, I may tell my dinner companion that she ought to try the duck, but, in so doing, I would not be claiming that she is in any sense required to try the duck. ” See also McNamara 1996b. 21 I should note that I am not committed to the view that, in ordinary English, the word “ought” is ambiguous between an objective sense and a subjective sense.

The acts in the set may be simple or compound, synchronous or asynchronous, consecutive or inconsecutive. 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.

What I hope to do instead is to develop the theory as best I can and to present it as part of a coherent picture concerning our commonsense practical views—that is, as part of a coherent picture concerning our commonsense views about the nature and substance of both morality and rationality. Since I do not have space here to make the necessary comparative assessments, I cannot claim that commonsense consequentialism does the best job of explaining and systematizing our various moral intuitions, nor that it does the best job of cohering with our other intuitions concerning practical matters.

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