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Is act-consequentialism self-effacing?

Venkatesh, Nikhil (2022) Is act-consequentialism self-effacing? Analysis, 81 (4). pp. 718-726. ISSN 0003-2638

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Identification Number: 10.1093/analys/anab042


Act-consequentialism (C) is self-effacing for an agent iff that agent’s not accepting C would produce the best outcome. The question of whether C is self-effacing is important for evaluating C. Some hold that if C is self-effacing that would be a mark against it (Williams 1973: 134); however, the claim that C is self-effacing is also used to defend C against certain objections (Parfit 1984: Ch. 1, Railton 1984). In this paper I will show that one argument suggested by Parfit and Railton fails to establish that C is self-effacing for individuals. However, a slightly different argument may show that C is self-effacing for groups. This raises the intriguing possibility that it might be right for an individual, but not for a group of which they are a member, to accept a moral theory. This possibility, odd though it seems, might be helpful to consequentialists.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2021 The Author(s).
Divisions: Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
Date Deposited: 08 Sep 2022 14:48
Last Modified: 20 Jul 2024 03:39

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