Consequentializing and its consequences
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Recently, a number of philosophers have argued that we can and should “consequentialize” non-consequentialist moral theories, putting them into a consequentialist framework. I argue that these philosophers, usually treated as a group, in fact offer three separate arguments, two of which are incompatible. I show that none represent significant threats to a committed non-consequentialist, and that the literature has suffered due to a failure to distinguish these arguments. I conclude by showing that the failure of the consequentializers’ arguments has implications for disciplines, such as economics, logic, decision theory, and linguistics, which sometimes use a consequentialist structure to represent non-consequentialist ethical theories.
KeywordsConsequentialize Consequentialism Non-consequentialism Deontology Dreier Portmore Cost-effectiveness analysis
For valuable comments on earlier drafts of this paper, I would like to thank Paul Hurley, Seth Lazar, Adrienne Martin, Alex Rajczi, and the participants at the Bechtel Workshop in Moral and Political Philosophy, held at the University of Pittsburgh. For earlier conversations on related issues, I thank Jamie Dreier and Paul McNamara.
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