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What is Consequentialism?

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by

Natalie Ashton

on 20 October 2013

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Transcript of What is Consequentialism?

What is Consequentialism?
Overview
What is Consequentialism?
3 Features
Specific Forms
Benefits

Friendship

Moral Rightness
Consequentialism:
Rightness of action depends on value of consequences
3 Features of
Consequentialism

Non-Utilitarian Options
Option 2:
Same value theory, different procedure

It assesses the morality of acts
Rightness depends on the value of consequences...
...so the right action is the one whose consequences are best.
Not people
Not rules
It maximises the good.
General idea: make the world as good as it can be.
Exceptions:
Satisficing Consequentialism
Progressive Consequentialism
You are obligated to do the action with the best consequences. Anything less is immoral.
Eg. Giving to charity
It allows 'ends' to justify 'means'
Should you torture the terrorist's mother?
Or let the bomb go off?
Today:




Wednesday:

Friday:
Specific Forms
Natalie Ashton
n.a.ashton@sms.ed.ac.uk

Why be a Consequentialist?
eg. meeting a friend on her way to a job interview
Utilitarianism
But what do we mean by value?
Hedonism:
Pleasure is the only non-instrumental good and pain is the only non-instrumental bad.
Utilitarianism = C+H
Option 1:
Same procedure, different value theory

Option 3:
Both value theory and formula change.
Action:
Happiness:
Person 1:
Person 2:
A
B
0
9
4
4
3
0
2

2
Expected Value
Possible Effects
Treatment:
E1:
E2:
T1
T2
Full Recovery (10)
Death (0)
Almost Complete Recovery (9)
T3

Death (0)
Full Recovery (10)
What would you want your doctor to prescribe?

T1 (10x0.5) +(0x0.5) = 5


Standards vs. Decision Procedures
(based on their consequences)
50% chance = 0.5
100% chance = 1
T3 (9x1) = 9
T2 (0x0.5) +(10x0.5) = 5
The moral relevance is tangible
It has real life applications
It is situation-specific
Some Benefits
Full transcript