That is, it must require more of us than just the performance of certain voluntary acts. Broadly construed, consequentialism is the view that an act's deontic status is determined by how its outcome ranks relative to those of the available alternatives on some evaluative ranking. Roughly speaking, maximalism is the view that only those options that are not entailed by any other option are to be assessed in terms of whether they have some right-making feature F such as that of having optimal consequences , whereas omnism is the view that all options are to be assessed in terms of whether they are F. He argues in the first stage chapters 1-3 that a modest form of moral rationalism sets plausibility constraints on acceptable moral theories, and that traditional forms of act-consequentialism make demands that violate such constraints. The evaluator-relative consequentialist, it seems, must be appealing to a ranking of outcomes not as better or worse overall or as better or worse for me, but as somehow better or worse relative-to-me. Portmore defends a version of consequentialism that both comports with our commonsense moral intuitions and shares with other consequentialist theories the same compelling teleological conception of practical reasons.
Or is baking a pumpkin pie permissible because it's permissible to bake a pie? On what I take to be the standard account of supererogation, an act is supererogatory if and only if it is morally optional and there is more moral reason to perform it than to perform some permissible alternative. To this end he distinguishes the relationship between rightness and goodness, between deontic evaluations of actions and telic evaluations as good, better, and best, from the relationship between reasons for actions and reasons for outcomes. And sometimes the reason for this is not that we lack knowledge of the relevant facts, but that there is no fact about whether her φ-ing would have constituted a constraint-violation. The first, which I call the latitude problem, is that it has counterintuitive implications in cases where the duty to be exceeded is one that allows for significant latitude in how to comply with it. What, then, is a constraint-accepting theory i. This raises the question: Which, if either, is more fundamental than the other? And beyond offering accounts of imperfect duties, agent-centered options, supererogatory acts, Portmore offers accounts of the relationships between reasons and value, reasons and desire, and reasons and morality.
Thus, it will be of interest not only to those working on consequentialism and other areas of normative ethics, but also to those working in metaethics. Commonsense morality includes various agent-centered constraints, including ones against killing. Thus, it will be of interest not only to those working on consequentialism and other areas of normative ethics, but also to those working in metaethics. In this paper, I canvass various possible approaches to answering this question and argue that teleology seems to offer the most plausible approach—teleology being the view that the permissibility of an agent's options depends on how their outcomes or prospects rank relative to each other. It seems, then, that if a constraint-accepting theory wants to be plausible, it will need to endorse teleology. Nonetheless, I think that when ordinary people talk about going beyond the call of duty, they're talking about going beyond the call of moral duty, not going beyond the call of rational duty.
What's more, Portmore argues that we should accept this version of consequentialism, because we should accept both that an agent can be morally required to do only what she has most reason to do and that what she has most reason to do is to perform the act that would produce the outcome that she has most reason to want to obtain. The resulting view would seem to hold, bizarrely, that in cases of agent-centered options performing the moral option is always rationally forbidden. Consequentializing Commonsense Morality ; 4. Even devout non-consequentialists will be intrigued by much of it. Thus, it will be of interest not only to those working in normative ethics, but also to those working in metaethics.
Imagine both that 1 S1 is deliberating at t about whether or not to x at t' and that 2 althou. Reviewed by Paul Hurley, Claremont McKenna College Douglas Portmore's argument in Commonsense Consequentialism can profitably be understood as unfolding in two main stages. Clearly, then, Dorsey and I are talking about different concepts even though we are using the same technical term to refer to them. It is well worth the reader's time to accompany Portmore on this journey to the heart of consequentialism and back again: the overall strategy is ingenious, and the arguments are as rigorous as they are provocative. The second stage, itself presented in two parts, argues first chapters 4 and 5 that any defensible form of consequentialism will have a particular structure, what he labels a 'dual-ranking' structure, and second for a particular form of consequentialism that has the requisite structure chapters 6 and 7.
Portmore's answer is to argue that any plausible moral theory will be a form of act-consequentialism, hence that any plausible explanation of deontic verdicts will have a consequentialist form. This view, which I call attitudism, has three important implications. If maximalism is correct, then, as I show, most theories of morality and rationality must be revised. Portmore argues that outcomes should be ranked, not according to their impersonal value, but according to how much reason the relevant agent has to desire that each outcome obtains and that, when outcomes are ranked in this way, we arrive at a version of consequentialism that can better account for our commonsense moral intuitions than even many forms of deontology can. What do we hold fixed when assessing how good an option is? Although the primary aim of the book is to defend a particular moral theory viz.
Why I Am Not a Utilitarian ; 1. Portmore is Professor of Philosophy in the School of Historical, Philosophical, and Religious Studies at Arizona State University. And, on this account, an agent has more moral reason to perform one act than to perform another if and only if she morally ought to prefer how things would be if she were to perform the one to how things would be if she were to perform the other. Is baking a pie permissible because it's permissible to perform some instance of pie-baking, such as pumpkin-pie baking? The performance of one option can entail the performance of another. But as Mark Schroeder 2007 has argued, it is not clear that 'good-relative-to' in this sense is even a coherent concept. Virtually all previous consequentialists take these relationships to stand or fall together, and to both be at the heart of consequentialism. Such a traditional consequentialist position is committed to evaluating actions as right or wrong, permissible or impermissible, 1 through appeal to outcomes 2 evaluated as better or worse 3 from an evaluator-neutral standpoint 4 appealing to a single ultimate value e.
Although the primary aim of the book is to defend a particular consequentialist theory viz. The book sets aside the question of what ultimately matters so as to focus on more basic issues, such as: What are our options? Consequentialism and Moral Rationalism ; 2. Third, it implies that no adequate practical theory can require us to perform acts that we would not perform even if we were to have the attitudes that we ought to have. Consequentialism and Moral Rationalism 2. Outlining an answer to this question takes up the remaining chapters of the book. I argue that this account has two serious problems. In particular, I will focus primarily upon the first stage of the argument and the first part of what I have characterized as the second stage -- the argument that consequentialism should have a dual-ranking structure.