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Minds, Ethics, and ConditionalsThemes from the Philosophy of Frank Jackson$
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Ian Ravenscroft

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199267989

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199267989.001.0001

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Consequentialism and the Nearest and Dearest Objection

Consequentialism and the Nearest and Dearest Objection

Chapter:
(p.237) 10 Consequentialism and the Nearest and Dearest Objection
Source:
Minds, Ethics, and Conditionals
Author(s):

Michael Smith (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199267989.003.0011

This chapter suggests that the nearest and dearest objection is best understood as attempting to show that consequentialism is, in Parfit terms, ‘indirectly collectively self-defeating’. The concern is that if significant numbers of us act to maximize neutral value we will end up living lives which are not worth living — not worth living because we will have given up precisely those projects that make our lives worth living. Consequentialism is thus indirectly collectively self-defeating: adhering to the injunction to act so as to maximize neutral value is likely to render us all worse off.

Keywords:   consequentialism, Parfit, Frank Jackson

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