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Unformatted text preview: s paper that consequentialism cannot provide a satisfactory account of the goodness of actions, on the most natural approach to the question. I will also argue that, strictly speaking, a consequentialist cannot judge one action to be better or worse than another action performed at a different time or by a different person. Even if such theories are thought to be primarily concerned with rightness, this would be surprising; but in light of recent work challenging the place of rightness in consequentialism, it seems particularly disturbing. If actions are neither right (or wrong) nor good (or bad), what moral judgments do apply to them? Doesn't the rejection of both rightness and goodness, as applied to actions, leave consequentialism unacceptably impoverished? CONSEQUENTIALISM CANNOT FORM THE BASIS OF MORAL JUDGEMENT Consequentialists give no criteria for which actions are right or wrong when such choices need to be made before decisions. Alastair Norcross, department of Philosophy, Southern Methodist University, THE PHILOSOPHICAL REVIEW, January, 1997, p. 31. If my suspicion is correct, and, further, if the reasons for a consequentialist to reject rightness prove compelling, what can a consequentialist say about the moral status of actions? It appears that she can truly say of an action only how much better or worse it is than other possible alternatives. But common sense tells us that actions are (at least sometimes) right or wrong, good or bad. We look to moral theories to give us an account of what makes actions right or wrong, and good or bad. How, then, can consequentialism claim to be a moral theory, if it can give no clear sense to such notions? CONSEQUENTIALISM SHOULD BE REPLACED BY A PERSONAL SENSE OF DUTY Alastair Norcross, department of Philosophy, Southern Methodist University, THE PHILOSOPHICAL REVIEW, January, 1997, p. 33. When we contemplate a course of action, instead of asking whether we are doing better or worse than other people, we should ask whether there are better alternatives th...
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This document was uploaded on 11/20/2013.
- Fall '13