Whereas consequentialist theories posit that consequences of action should be the primary focus of our thinking about ethics, virtue ethics insists that it is the character rather than the consequences of actions that should be the focal point. John Rawls, a critic of utilitarianism, argues that utilitarianism, in common with other forms of consequentialism, relies on the perspective of such an ideal observer. [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]. [45], Teleological theories differ among themselves on the nature of the particular end that actions ought to promote. [19], Ethical altruism can be seen as a consequentialist theory which prescribes that an individual take actions that have the best consequences for everyone except for himself. Actualists assert that it is only relevant what the agent would actually do later for assessing the value of an alternative. Hedonism, on the other hand, says something is “good” if the consequence produces pleasure or avoids pain. This contrast is brought out in issues such as voluntary euthanasia. A UTILITARIAN Ethical Theory is a (purely) consequentialist theory according to which the morality of an act depends solely on some relation (specified by the theory) that it has to the maximization of total or average utility (a measure of non-moral goodness). This contrasts with the "acts and omissions doctrine", which is upheld by some medical ethicists and some religions: it asserts there is a significant moral distinction between acts and deliberate non-actions which lead to the same outcome. Subscribe for free: Every Friday I send a short newsle… Thus, egoism will prescribe actions that may be beneficial, detrimental, or neutral to the welfare of others. Consequentialism (or Teleological Ethics) is an approach to Ethics that argues that the morality of an action is contingent on the action's outcome or consequence. Phillipa Foot (1920 - 2010), for example, argues that consequences in themselves have no ethical content, unless it has been provided by a virtue, such as benevolence, etc. Consequentialist theories that adopt this paradigm hold that right action is the action that will bring about the best consequences from this ideal observer's perspective. At the very least, any moral theory needs to define the standpoint from which the goodness of the consequences are to be determined. Railton argues that Williams's criticisms can be avoided by adopting a form of consequentialism in which moral decisions are to be determined by the sort of life that they express. [...] There is an abysmal contrast between conduct that follows the maxim of an ethic of ultimate ends — that is in religious terms, "the Christian does rightly and leaves the results with the Lord" — and conduct that follows the maxim of an ethic of responsibility, in which case one has to give an account of the foreseeable results of one's action. Consequentialism is a type of normative ethical theory which states that the moral quality of an action is completely determined by its consequences, and nothing else. 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.[34]. The normative status of an action depends on its consequences according to consequentialism. ", "How are the consequences judged and who judges them?". As a result, it could be argued that there is a moral imperative for an agent to inform himself as much as possible about a situation before judging the appropriate course of action. On the one hand the standard of right and wrong, on the other the chain of causes and effects, are fastened to their throne. Consequentialism is usually contrasted with deontological ethics (or deontology), 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. 1993. relieving a terminally ill patient's pain may also cause an effect one would normally be obliged to avoid, namely the patient's death: the Principle of Double Effect). 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. a Consequentialist cannot really criticize human rights abuses in a war if they ultimately result in a better state of affairs). This version gives relevance to the motive of an act and links it to its consequences. Each of the different types of Consequentialism theories are each defined differently andhave many differences between them.Utilitarianism: So Utilitarianism say that you should maximize the most good for thelargest number. [36][37], Consequentialism can also be contrasted with aretaic moral theories such as virtue ethics. Agent-neutral consequentialism ignores the specific value a state of affairs has for any particular agent. Rule consequentialism: One should follow whatever ethical rules, which if everyone in one’s society obeyed them, would lead to the greatest good for the greatest number most often. if a goal is morally important enough, any method of achieving it is acceptable. In weaker versions, simple forbearance from acts tending to harm others is sufficient. Not eating any cookies at all, on the other hand, would be the second-best alternative. The "material wealth" of Mohist consequentialism refers to basic needs, like shelter and clothing; and "order" refers to Mozi's stance against warfare and violence, which he viewed as pointless and a threat to social stability. If all we are concerned with is getting good outcomes, this can seem to justify harming some people in order to benefit others. As the consequentialist approach contains an inherent assumption that the outcomes of a moral decision can be quantified in terms of "goodness" or "badness," or at least put in order of increasing preference, it is an especially suited moral theory for a probabilistic and decision theoretical approach. Commonsense Consequentialism is a book about morality, rationality, and the interconnections between the two.

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