Commonsense Consequentialism: Wherein Morality Meets Rationality

Paperback | July 15, 2014

byDouglas W. Portmore

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Commonsense Consequentialism is a book about morality, rationality, and the interconnections between the two. In it, Douglas W. Portmore defends a version of consequentialism that both comports with our commonsense moral intuitions and shares with other consequentialist theories the samecompelling teleological conception of practical reasons. Broadly construed, consequentialism is the view that an act's deontic status is determined by how its outcome ranks relative to those of the available alternatives on some evaluative ranking. Portmore argues that outcomes should be ranked, not according to their impersonal value, but according tohow much reason the relevant agent has to desire that each outcome obtains and that, when outcomes are ranked in this way, we arrive at a version of consequentialism that can better account for our commonsense moral intuitions than even many forms of deontology can. What's more, Portmore argues thatwe should accept this version of consequentialism, because we should accept both that an agent can be morally required to do only what she has most reason to do and that what she has most reason to do is to perform the act that would produce the outcome that she has most reason to want to obtain.Although the primary aim of the book is to defend a particular moral theory (viz., commonsense consequentialism), Portmore defends this theory as part of a coherent whole concerning our commonsense views about the nature and substance of both morality and rationality. Thus, it will be of interestnot only to those working on consequentialism and other areas of normative ethics, but also to those working in metaethics. Beyond offering an account of morality, Portmore offers accounts of practical reasons, practical rationality, and the objective/subjective obligation distinction.

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Commonsense Consequentialism is a book about morality, rationality, and the interconnections between the two. In it, Douglas W. Portmore defends a version of consequentialism that both comports with our commonsense moral intuitions and shares with other consequentialist theories the samecompelling teleological conception of practical r...

Douglas W. Portmore is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Arizona State University. His research focuses mainly on morality, rationality, and the interconnections between the two, but he also writes on wellbeing, posthumous harm, and the nonidentity problem.
Format:PaperbackDimensions:288 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.68 inPublished:July 15, 2014Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199396450

ISBN - 13:9780199396450

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Table of Contents

Abbreviations1. Why I Am Not a Utilitarian1.1 Utilitarianism: The good, the bad, and the ugly1.2 The plan for the rest of the book1.3 My aims1.4 Objective oughts and objective reasons1.5 Conventions that I will follow throughout the book2. Consequentialism and Moral Rationalism2.1 The too-demanding objection: How moral rationalism leads us to reject utilitarianism2.2 The argument against utilitarianism from moral rationalism2.3 How moral rationalism compels us to accept consequentialism2.4 What is consequentialism?2.5 The presumptive case for moral rationalism2.6 Some concluding remarks3. The Teleological Conception of Practical Reasons3.1 Getting clear on what the view is3.2 Clearing up some misconceptions about the view3.3 Scanlon's putative counterexamples to the view3.4 Arguments for the view4. Consequentializing Commonsense Morality4.1 How to consequentialize4.2 The deontic equivalence thesis4.3 Beyond the deontic equivalence thesis: How consequentialist theories can do a better job of accounting for our considered moral convictions than even some nonconsequentialist theories can4.4 The implications of the deontic equivalence thesis4.5 An objection5. Dual-Ranking Act-Consequentialism: Reasons, Morality, and Overridingness5.1 Some quick clarifications5.2 Moral reasons, overridingness, and agent-centered options5.3 Moral reasons, overridingness, and supererogation5.4 A meta-criterion of rightness and how it leads us to adopt dual-ranking act-consequentialism5.5 Norcross's objection5.6 Splawn's objection5.7 Violations of the transitivity and independence axioms6. Imperfect Reasons and Rational Options6.1 Kagan's objection: Are we sacrificing rational options to get moral options?6.2 Imperfect reasons and rational options6.3 Securitism6.4 Securitism and the basic belief6.5 Securitism's suppositions and implications7. Commonsense Consequentialis7.1 The best version of act-utilitarianism: commonsense utilitarianism7.2 Securitist consequentialism and the argument for it7.3 Commonsense consequentialism and how it compares with traditional act-consequentialism7.4 What has been shown and what remains to be shownGlossaryReferencesIndex