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    which theory holds that ends or consequences of an act determine whether the act is good or bad


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    Consequentialism says that right or wrong depend on the consequences of an act, and that the more good consequences are produced, the better the act.


    Consequentialism says that right or wrong depend on the consequences of an act, and that the more good consequences are produced, the better the act.

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    Act consequentialism

    Rule consequentialism

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    About consequentialism

    Consequentialism: results-based ethics

    The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy gives a plain and simple definition of consequentialism:

    Of all the things a person might do at any given moment, the morally right action is the one with the best overall consequences.

    Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Consequentialism

    Consequentialism is based on two principles:

    Whether an act is right or wrong depends only on the results of that act

    The more good consequences an act produces, the better or more right that act

    It gives us this guidance when faced with a moral dilemma:

    A person should choose the action that maximises good consequences

    And it gives this general guidance on how to live:

    People should live so as to maximise good consequences

    Different forms of consequentialism differ over what the good thing is that should be maximised.

    Utilitarianism states that people should maximise human welfare or well-being (which they used to call 'utility' - hence the name).Hedonism states that people should maximise human pleasure.

    Other forms of consequentialism take a more subtle approach; for example stating that people should maximise the satisfaction of their fully informed and rational preferences.

    In practice people don't assess the ethical consequences of every single act (that's called 'act consequentialism') because they don't have the time.

    Instead they use ethical rules that are derived from considering the general consequences of particular types of acts. That is called 'rule consequentialism'.

    So, for example, according to rule consequentialism we consider lying to be wrong because we know that in general lying produces bad consequences.

    Results-based ethics produces this important conclusion for ethical thinking:

    No type of act is inherently wrong - not even murder - it depends on the result of the act

    This far-fetched example may make things clearer:

    Suppose that by killing X, an entirely innocent person, we can save the lives of 10 other innocent people

    A consequentialist would say that killing X is justified because it would result in only 1 person dying, rather than 10 people dying

    A non-consequentialist would say it is inherently wrong to murder people and refuse to kill X, even though not killing X leads to the death of 9 more people than killing X


    Evaluating each decision would take too long. Photo: Liz Fagoli ©

    The classic form of results-based ethics is called utilitarianism.

    This says that the ethically right choice in a given situation is the one that produces the most happiness and the least unhappiness for the largest number of people.

    The appeal of results-based ethics

    Results-based ethics plays a very large part in everyday life because it is simple and appeals to common sense:

    It seems sensible to base ethics on producing happiness and reducing unhappiness

    It seems sensible to base ethics on the consequences of what we do, since we usually take decisions about what to do by considering what results will be produced

    It seems easy to understand and to be based on common sense


    Act consequentialism

    Act consequentialism

    Act consequentialism looks at every single moral choice anew. It teaches:

    A particular action is morally good only if it produces more overall good than any alternative action.

    Good points of act consequentialism

    A flexible system

    Act consequentialism is flexible and can take account of any set of circumstances, however exceptional.

    Bad points of act consequentialism

    Impractical for real life use

    while it sounds attractive in theory, it’s a very difficult system to apply to real life moral decisions because:

    every moral decision is a completely separate case that must be fully evaluated

    individuals must research the consequences of their acts before they can make an ethically sound choice

    doing such research is often impracticable, and too costly

    the time taken by such research leads to slow decision-making which may itself have bad consequences, and the bad consequences of delay may outweigh the good consequences of making a perfect decision

    but where a very serious moral choice has to be made, or in unusual circumstances, individuals may well think hard about the consequences of particular moral choices in this way

    Bad for society

    some people argue that if everyone adopted act consequentialism it would have bad consequences for society in general

    this is because it would be difficult to predict the moral decisions that other people would make, and this would lead to great uncertainty about how they would behave

    some philosophers also think that it would lead to a collapse of mutual trust in society, as many would fear that prejudice or bias towards family or other groups would more strongly influence moral decisions than if people used general moral rules based on consequentialism

    स्रोत : www.bbc.co.uk



    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Every advantage in the past is judged in the light of the final issue. — Demosthenes

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    In ethical philosophy, consequentialism is a class of normative, teleological ethical theories that holds that the consequences of one's conduct are the ultimate basis for judgment about the rightness or wrongness of that conduct. Thus, from a consequentialist standpoint, a morally right act (or omission from acting) is one that will produce a good outcome. Consequentialism, along with eudaimonism, falls under the broader category of teleological ethics, a group of views which claim that the moral value of any act consists in its tendency to produce things of intrinsic value.[1] Consequentialists hold in general that an act is right the act (or in some views, the rule under which it falls) will produce, will probably produce, or is intended to produce, a greater balance of good over evil than any available alternative. Different consequentialist theories differ in how they define moral goods, with chief candidates including pleasure, the absence of pain, the satisfaction of one's preferences, and broader notions of the "general good".

    Consequentialism is usually contrasted with deontological ethics (or ), in that deontology, in which rules and moral duty are central, 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 contrasted with 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 collectively as a society over the course of many lifetimes, such that any moral criterion is subject to revision.

    Some argue that consequentialist theories (such as utilitarianism) and deontological theories (such as Kantian ethics) 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.[2] Similarly, Robert Nozick argued for a theory that is mostly consequentialist, but incorporates inviolable "side-constraints" which restrict the sort of actions agents are permitted to do.[2] Derek Parfit argued that in practice, when understood properly, rule consequentialism, Kantian deontology and contractualism would all end up prescribing the same behavior.[3]

    Forms of consequentialism[edit]


    Main article: Utilitarianism

    Jeremy Bentham, best known for his advocacy of utilitarianism

    Nature has placed mankind under the governance of two sovereign masters, pain and pleasure. It is for them alone to point out what we ought to do, as well as to determine what we shall do. On the one hand the standard of right and wrong, on the other the chain of causes and effects, are fastened to their throne. They govern us in all we do, in all we say, in all we think...

    — Jeremy Bentham, (1789) Ch I, p 1

    In summary, Jeremy Bentham states that people are driven by their interests and their fears, but their interests take precedence over their fears; their interests are carried out in accordance with how people view the consequences that might be involved with their interests. , in this account, is defined as the maximization of pleasure and the minimization of pain. It can be argued that the existence of phenomenal consciousness and "qualia" is required for the experience of pleasure or pain to have an ethical significance.[4][5]

    Historically, is the paradigmatic example of a consequentialist moral theory. This form of utilitarianism holds that what matters is the aggregate happiness; the happiness of everyone, and not the happiness of any particular person. John Stuart Mill, in his exposition of hedonistic utilitarianism, proposed a hierarchy of pleasures, meaning that the pursuit of certain kinds of pleasure is more highly valued than the pursuit of other pleasures.[6] However, some contemporary utilitarians, such as Peter Singer, are concerned with maximizing the satisfaction of preferences, hence . Other contemporary forms of utilitarianism mirror the forms of consequentialism outlined below.

    Rule consequentialism[edit]

    See also: Rule utilitarianism

    In general, consequentialist theories focus on actions. However, this need not be the case. Rule consequentialism is a theory that is sometimes seen as an attempt to reconcile consequentialism with deontology, or rules-based ethics[7]—and in some cases, this is stated as a criticism of rule consequentialism.[8] Like deontology, rule consequentialism holds that moral behavior involves following certain rules. However, rule consequentialism chooses rules based on the consequences that the selection of those rules has. Rule consequentialism exists in the forms of rule utilitarianism and rule egoism.

    स्रोत : en.wikipedia.org

    Consequentialism (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)


    First published Tue May 20, 2003; substantive revision Mon Jun 3, 2019

    Consequentialism, as its name suggests, is simply the view that normative properties depend only on consequences. This historically important and still popular theory embodies the basic intuition that what is best or right is whatever makes the world best in the future, because we cannot change the past, so worrying about the past is no more useful than crying over spilled milk. This general approach can be applied at different levels to different normative properties of different kinds of things, but the most prominent example is probably consequentialism about the moral rightness of acts, which holds that whether an act is morally right depends only on the consequences of that act or of something related to that act, such as the motive behind the act or a general rule requiring acts of the same kind.

    1. Classic Utilitarianism

    2. What is Consequentialism?

    3. What is Good? Hedonistic vs. Pluralistic Consequentialisms

    4. Which Consequences? Actual vs. Expected Consequentialisms

    5. Consequences of What? Rights, Relativity, and Rules

    6. Consequences for Whom? Limiting the Demands of Morality

    7. Arguments for Consequentialism

    Bibliography Academic Tools

    Other Internet Resources

    Related Entries

    1. Classic Utilitarianism

    The paradigm case of consequentialism is utilitarianism, whose classic proponents were Jeremy Bentham (1789), John Stuart Mill (1861), and Henry Sidgwick (1907). (For predecessors, see Schneewind 1997, 2002.) Classic utilitarians held hedonistic act consequentialism. Act consequentialism is the claim that an act is morally right if and only if that act maximizes the good, that is, if and only if the total amount of good for all minus the total amount of bad for all is greater than this net amount for any incompatible act available to the agent on that occasion. (Cf. Moore 1912, chs. 1–2.) Hedonism then claims that pleasure is the only intrinsic good and that pain is the only intrinsic bad.

    These claims are often summarized in the slogan that an act is right if and only if it causes “the greatest happiness for the greatest number.” This slogan is misleading, however. An act can increase happiness for most (the greatest number of) people but still fail to maximize the net good in the world if the smaller number of people whose happiness is not increased lose much more than the greater number gains. The principle of utility would not allow that kind of sacrifice of the smaller number to the greater number unless the net good overall is increased more than any alternative.

    Classic utilitarianism is consequentialist as opposed to deontological because of what it denies. It denies that moral rightness depends directly on anything other than consequences, such as whether the agent promised in the past to do the act now. Of course, the fact that the agent promised to do the act might indirectly affect the act’s consequences if breaking the promise will make other people unhappy. Nonetheless, according to classic utilitarianism, what makes it morally wrong to break the promise is its future effects on those other people rather than the fact that the agent promised in the past.

    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 supposed 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 (as opposed to putting more weight on the worse or worst off).

    स्रोत : plato.stanford.edu

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