, Volume 36, Issue 1, pp 141–150 | Cite as

A Dilemma for Rule-Consequentialism

Original Paper


Rule-consequentialists tend to argue for their normative theory by claiming that their view matches our moral convictions just as well as a pluralist set of Rossian duties. As an additional advantage, rule-consequentialism offers a unifying justification for these duties. I challenge the first part of the ruleconsequentialist argument and show that Rossian duties match our moral convictions better than the rule-consequentialist principles. I ask the rule-consequentialists a simple question. In the case that circumstances change, is the wrongness of acts determined by the ideal principles for the earlier circumstances or by the ideal ones for the new circumstances? I argue that whichever answer the rule-consequentialists give the view leads to normative conclusions that conflict with our moral intuitions. Because some set of Rossian duties can avoid similar problems, rule-consequentialism fails in the reflective equilibrium test advocated by the rule-consequentialists.


Rule-consequentialism Rossian pluralism Reflective equilibrium test 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Philosophy DepartmentUniversity of ReadingReading RG6 6AAUK

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