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On What MattersVolume One$
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Derek Parfit

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199572809

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199572809.001.0001

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(p.371) 16 Consequentialism
On What Matters

Derek Parfit

Oxford University Press

This chapter presents a philosophical discussion of Immanuel Kant's consequentialism. It first considers a number of consequentialist theories and maxims, including the belief that things go best when they go in the way that would, on the whole, benefit people most, by giving them the greatest total sum of benefits minus burdens. Of the principles that everyone might accept, some might be universal acceptance-optimific in the sense that these are the principles whose universal acceptance would make things go best. According to the universal acceptance version of Rule Consequentialism, everyone ought to follow these optimific principles. Some people would have strong self-interested reasons, altruistic and deontic reasons, and decisive non-deontic reasons not to choose these optimific principles. The chapter also examines the Wrong-Making Features Objection and argues that there are principles that everyone could choose with rationality.

Keywords:   consequentialism, Immanuel Kant, universal acceptance, Rule Consequentialism, optimific principles, reasons, Wrong-Making Features Objection, rationality

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