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Commonsense ConsequentialismWherein Morality Meets Rationality$
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Douglas W. Portmore

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199794539

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199794539.001.0001

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Why I Am Not a Utilitarian

Why I Am Not a Utilitarian

Chapter:
(p.2) (p.3) 1 Why I Am Not a Utilitarian
Source:
Commonsense Consequentialism
Author(s):

Douglas W. Portmore

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199794539.003.0001

The chapter explains the motivation for the book, which is to find a moral theory that accommodates what's compelling about act-utilitarianism while avoiding most, if not all, of its counterintuitive implications. It is argued that what's compelling about act-utilitarianism is the idea that an act's deontic status is determined by the agent's reasons for preferring its outcome to those of the available alternatives such that it can never be morally wrong for her to act so as to bring about the outcome that she has most reason to want to obtain. And it is argued that what is most problematic about act-utilitarianism is its implication that agents are sometimes required to act in ways that they lack decisive reason to act. The chapter also lays out the plan for the book and explains the book's focus on what we objectively ought to do and why this is of fundamental importance.

Keywords:   utilitarianism, objective ought, moral rationalism, objective reasons, consequentialism

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