① Consequentialist Theories Of Moral Evaluation

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Consequentialist Theories Of Moral Evaluation

Periods Ancient Medieval Modern Consequentialist Theories Of Moral Evaluation. Hence the Consequentialist Theories Of Moral Evaluation will probably be better. Brandt, Richard B. Basic Issues and Simple Versions a. Morality, Consequentialist Theories Of Moral Evaluation, and Consequences.

nonconsequentialist Theories of Morality

For example, according to virtue ethical theory, one may be considered morally good for being courageous — even though he was robbing a bank. How does this facilitate the development of a standard code of behavior? Virtuous character traits do not reflect the variety of moral values in society. Deontological Ethics refers to a class of ethics in which the principle of obligation is the basis of moral decision making. The Greek terms, deon and logos , means duty and reasoning ; hence, deontology is the "reasoning of duty. Correct moral choices are made when one understands what their moral law, duty, or rule is and acts according to the corresponding prescribed behavior. When one follows the law, duty, or rule, he is behaving morally.

Duties Theories consider behavior morally good when one acts out of a list of duties or obligations. There are duties to God, duties to oneself, family duties, social duties, and political duties. Rights Theories consider behavior morally good when one acts on principles of rights or respects the rights of others. For example: human rights. Categorical Imperative , originated by Immanuel Kant, is moral law determined by reason and having the nature of command or imperative.

Satisficers, on the other hand, would recognize that most charities produce enough good, and donating to any of them assuming you do some basic homework is better than not donating to any. The opposite of consequentialism, known as non-consequentialism, argues that the potential consequences of a given action should not be taken into consideration when determining the moral quality of an action.

Consequentialism ethics give consequentialists guidance whenever they are faced with a moral decision; with this guidance coming in many forms. A consequentialist who follows act consequentialism, on the other hand, assess each moral action or decision on a case-by-case basis. This question has been posed to many years, and it is a classic example of consequentialism philosophy in action. Consequentialists would answer that yes, they would absolutely kill Hitler as a baby, as they know that while murder is generally frowned upon, by killing baby Hitler they will be saving the lives of millions upon millions of people; thus killing baby Hitler is morally justified.

Non-consequentialists, on the other hand, would argue that murder is wrong under all circumsrances, and therefore despite their knowledge of what not killing baby Hitler will bring, they cannot morally allow themselves to kill Hitler as a baby. Another example of consequentialism philosophy in action is that of consequentialism in healthcare. If you worked in a hospital and only had enough dosage of a particular drug to either keep one patient who is severely sick from dying, or five patients who are less sick and could share the dosage from dying, which would you choose? A consequentialist would choose the five patients who require less of a dosage to receive the medicine, allowing the sixth patient to die, as this produces the most moral good.

A non-consequentialist, on the other hand, would infer no judgement over who is more worthy of the medicine, and would simply administer the necessary medicine on a first come, first serve basis, until it runs out. Finally, a modern-day example of consequentialism philosophy in action would be the ethics associated with self-driving cars. Possibilists, however, contend that the best possible course of action involves eating the first cookie and this is therefore what Gifre should do. One counterintuitive consequence of actualism is that agents can avoid moral obligations simply by having an imperfect moral character. By rejecting the offer right away, she managed at least not to waste anyone's time.

Actualists might even consider her behavior praiseworthy since she did what, according to actualism, she ought to have done. This seems to be a very easy way to "get off the hook" that is avoided by possibilism. But possibilism has to face the objection that in some cases it sanctions and even recommends what actually leads to the worst outcome. Douglas W. Portmore has suggested that these and other problems of actualism and possibilism can be avoided by constraining what counts as a genuine alternative for the agent.

For example, eating only one cookie and stopping afterward only is an option for Gifre if she has the rational capacity to repress her temptation to continue eating. If the temptation is irrepressible then this course of action is not considered to be an option and is therefore not relevant when assessing what the best alternative is. Portmore suggests that, given this adjustment, we should prefer a view very closely associated with possibilism called maximalism. One important characteristic of many normative moral theories such as consequentialism is the ability to produce practical moral judgements. At the very least, any moral theory needs to define the standpoint from which the goodness of the consequences are to be determined.

What is primarily at stake here is the responsibility of the agent. One common tactic among consequentialists, particularly those committed to an altruistic selfless account of consequentialism, is to employ an ideal, neutral observer from which moral judgements can be made. John Rawls , a critic of utilitarianism, argues that utilitarianism, in common with other forms of consequentialism, relies on the perspective of such an ideal observer.

Consequentialist theories that adopt this paradigm hold that right action is the action that will bring about the best consequences from this ideal observer's perspective. In practice, it is very difficult, and at times arguably impossible, to adopt the point of view of an ideal observer. Individual moral agents do not know everything about their particular situations, and thus do not know all the possible consequences of their potential actions. For this reason, some theorists have argued that consequentialist theories can only require agents to choose the best action in line with what they know about the situation.

Acting in a situation without first informing oneself of the circumstances of the situation can lead to even the most well-intended actions yielding miserable consequences. As a result, it could be argued that there is a moral imperative for an agent to inform himself as much as possible about a situation before judging the appropriate course of action. This imperative, of course, is derived from consequential thinking: a better-informed agent is able to bring about better consequences. Moral action always has consequences for certain people or things.

Varieties of consequentialism can be differentiated by the beneficiary of the good consequences. That is, one might ask "Consequences for whom? A fundamental distinction can be drawn between theories which require that agents act for ends perhaps disconnected from their own interests and drives, and theories which permit that agents act for ends in which they have some personal interest or motivation. These are called "agent-neutral" and "agent-focused" theories respectively. Agent-neutral consequentialism ignores the specific value a state of affairs has for any particular agent. Thus, in an agent-neutral theory, an actor's personal goals do not count any more than anyone else's goals in evaluating what action the actor should take.

Agent-focused consequentialism, on the other hand, focuses on the particular needs of the moral agent. Thus, in an agent-focused account, such as one that Peter Railton outlines, the agent might be concerned with the general welfare, but the agent is more concerned with the immediate welfare of herself and her friends and family. These two approaches could be reconciled by acknowledging the tension between an agent's interests as an individual and as a member of various groups, and seeking to somehow optimize among all of these interests. Many consequentialist theories may seem primarily concerned with human beings and their relationships with other human beings. However, some philosophers argue that we should not limit our ethical consideration to the interests of human beings alone.

Jeremy Bentham , who is regarded as the founder of utilitarianism , argues that animals can experience pleasure and pain, thus demanding that 'non-human animals' should be a serious object of moral concern. More recently, Peter Singer has argued that it is unreasonable that we do not give equal consideration to the interests of animals as to those of human beings when we choose the way we are to treat them. One way to divide various consequentialisms is by the types of consequences that are taken to matter most, that is, which consequences count as good states of affairs.

According to utilitarianism , a good action is one that results in an increase in pleasure , and the best action is one that results in the most pleasure for the greatest number. Closely related is eudaimonic consequentialism, according to which a full, flourishing life, which may or may not be the same as enjoying a great deal of pleasure, is the ultimate aim. Similarly, one might adopt an aesthetic consequentialism, in which the ultimate aim is to produce beauty. However, one might fix on non-psychological goods as the relevant effect. Thus, one might pursue an increase in material equality or political liberty instead of something like the more ephemeral "pleasure".

Other theories adopt a package of several goods, all to be promoted equally. As the consequentialist approach contains an inherent assumption that the outcomes of a moral decision can be quantified in terms of "goodness" or "badness," or at least put in order of increasing preference , it is an especially suited moral theory for a probabilistic and decision theoretical approach. Consequentialism can also be contrasted with aretaic moral theories such as virtue ethics. Whereas consequentialist theories posit that consequences of action should be the primary focus of our thinking about ethics, virtue ethics insists that it is the character rather than the consequences of actions that should be the focal point.

Some virtue ethicists hold that consequentialist theories totally disregard the development and importance of moral character. For example, Philippa Foot argues that consequences in themselves have no ethical content, unless it has been provided by a virtue such as benevolence. However, consequentialism and virtue ethics need not be entirely antagonistic. Iain King has developed an approach that reconciles the two schools. Similarly, a consequentialist theory may aim at the maximization of a particular virtue or set of virtues. Finally, following Foot's lead, one might adopt a sort of consequentialism that argues that virtuous activity ultimately produces the best consequences. The ultimate end is a concept in the moral philosophy of Max Weber , in which individuals act in a faithful, rather than rational, manner.

We must be clear about the fact that all ethically oriented conduct may be guided by one of two fundamentally differing and irreconcilably opposed maxims: conduct can be oriented to an ethic of ultimate ends or to an ethic of responsibility. This concept is exemplified by the famous aphorism , "the end justifies the means ," variously attributed to Machiavelli or Ovid [45] i. Teleological theories differ among themselves on the nature of the particular end that actions ought to promote. The two major families of views in teleological ethics are virtue ethics and consequentialism. The term consequentialism was coined by G. Anscombe in her essay " Modern Moral Philosophy " in , [50] to describe what she saw as the central error of certain moral theories, such as those propounded by Mill and Sidgwick.

The phrase and concept of "the end justifies the means" are at least as old as the first century BC. Ovid wrote in his Heroides that Exitus acta probat "The result justifies the deed". Anscombe objects to the consequentialism of Sidgwick on the grounds that the moral worth of an action is premised on the predictive capabilities of the individual, relieving them of the responsibility for the "badness" of an act should they "make out a case for not having foreseen" negative consequences. The future amplification of the effects of small decisions [52] is an important factor that makes it more difficult to predict the ethical value of consequences, [53] even though most would agree that only predictable consequences are charged with a moral responsibility.

Bernard Williams has argued that consequentialism is alienating because it requires moral agents to put too much distance between themselves and their own projects and commitments. Williams argues that consequentialism requires moral agents to take a strictly impersonal view of all actions, since it is only the consequences, and not who produces them, that are said to matter. Williams argues that this demands too much of moral agents—since he claims consequentialism demands that they be willing to sacrifice any and all personal projects and commitments in any given circumstance in order to pursue the most beneficent course of action possible. He argues further that consequentialism fails to make sense of intuitions that it can matter whether or not someone is personally the author of a particular consequence.

For example, that participating in a crime can matter, even if the crime would have been committed anyway, or would even have been worse, without the agent's participation. Some consequentialists—most notably Peter Railton —have attempted to develop a form of consequentialism that acknowledges and avoids the objections raised by Williams. Railton argues that Williams's criticisms can be avoided by adopting a form of consequentialism in which moral decisions are to be determined by the sort of life that they express. On his account, the agent should choose the sort of life that will, on the whole, produce the best overall effects.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Class of normative, teleological ethical theories. It has been suggested that this article be split into a new article titled Teleological ethics. Discuss August Plato Kant Nietzsche. Buddha Confucius Averroes. Ancient Medieval Modern Contemporary. Aestheticians Epistemologists Ethicists Logicians Metaphysicians Social and political philosophers Women in philosophy. Main article: Utilitarianism. See also: Rule utilitarianism. Main article: State consequentialism. Main article: Ethical egoism. Main article: Altruism ethics. See also: Negative consequentialism.

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