The term "consequentialism" was coined by G. E. M. Anscombe in her essay " Modern Moral Philosophy " in 1958, to describe what she saw as the central error of certain moral theories, such as those propounded by Mill and Sidgwick .  Since then, the term has become common in English-language ethical theory. The defining feature of consequentialist moral theories is the weight given to the consequences in evaluating the rightness and wrongness of actions.  In consequentialist theories, the consequences of an action or rule generally outweigh other considerations. Apart from this basic outline, there is little else that can be unequivocally said about consequentialism as such. However, there are some questions that many consequentialist theories address: What sort of consequences count as good consequences? Who is the primary beneficiary of moral action? How are the consequences judged and who judges them?
[ edit ] Kinds of consequences 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 hedonistic 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. Whether a particular consequentialist theory focuses on a single good or many, conflicts and tensions between different good states of affairs are to be expected and must be adjudicated. Teleological ethics Teleological ethics (Greek telos, “end”; logos, “science”) is an ethical theory that holds that the ends or consequences of an act determines whether an act is good or evil. Teleological theories are often discussed in opposition to deontological ethical theories, which hold that acts themselves are inherently good or evil, regardless of the consequences of acts. Teleological theories differ on the nature of the end that actions ought to promote. Eudaemonist theories (Greek eudaimonia, "happiness") hold that ethics consists in some function or activity appropriate to man as a human being, and thus tend to emphasize the cultivation of virtue or excellence in the agent as the end of all action. These could be the classical virtues — courage, temperance, justice, and wisdom— that promoted the Greek ideal of man as the "rational animal", or the theological virtues — faith, hope, and love — that distinguished the Christian ideal of man as a being created in the image of God.