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Beyond Consequentialism$
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Paul Hurley

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199559305

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199559305.001.0001

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Deflating the Challenge of Consequentialism

Deflating the Challenge of Consequentialism

(p.106) 5 Deflating the Challenge of Consequentialism
Beyond Consequentialism

Paul Hurley (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Many rationales are offered in support of the consequentialist theory of moral standards. This chapter harnesses the challenge to consequentialism mounted in prior chapters in order to demonstrate that the pull of many of these rationales is illusory. They do not provide a path of theoretical reflection that leads to consequentialism. They appear to result from what can profitably be seen as a misappropriation of general intuitions concerning the relationship between good/bad and right/wrong as properties of action and their misguided deployment as general intuitions concerning the relationship between good/bad as a property of states of affairs impersonally considered, and right/wrong as a property of actions. It is this misappropriation which underwrites the claim that consequentialism provides the most plausible interpretation of the general intuition that it is always right to do what is best. With this misappropriation in view, a return to the rationales that appear to favour consequentialism, reveals that their apparent support collapses.

Keywords:   right/wrong action, good/bad action, state of affairs, consequentialist rationales, general intuitions

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