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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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Consequentialism and Moral Rationalism

Consequentialism and Moral Rationalism

(p.25) 2 Consequentialism and Moral Rationalism
Commonsense Consequentialism

Douglas W. Portmore

Oxford University Press

The chapter argues, on the basis of a conceptual connection between wrongdoing and blameworthiness, that we should accept moral rationalism: the view that an agent can be morally required to perform a given act only if she has decisive reason, all things considered, to perform that act. And it argues that although we should reject all traditional versions of act-consequentialism given moral rationalism and certain plausible assumptions about what agents have decisive reason to do, we should accept some version of act-consequentialism, for act-consequentialism is entailed by the conjunction of moral rationalism and a certain plausible conception of practical reasons—namely, the teleological conception of practical reasons. Lastly, it is argued that act-consequentialism is best construed as a theory that ranks outcomes, not according to their impersonal value, but according to how much reason the agent has to desire that each outcome obtains.

Keywords:   utilitarianism, consequentialism, too-demanding objection, moral rationalism, moral responsibility, blameworthiness, wrongdoing, Peter Singer, David Sobel, Stephen Darwall

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