Commonsense Consequentialism

Commonsense Consequentialism : Wherein Morality Meets Rationality

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Description

Commonsense Consequentialism is a book about morality, rationality, and the interconnections between the two. In it, Douglas W. 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.
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. 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'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.
Although the primary aim of the book is to defend a particular moral theory (viz., commonsense consequentialism), Portmore defends this theory as part of a coherent whole concerning our commonsense views about the nature and substance of both morality and rationality. 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. Beyond offering an account of morality, Portmore offers accounts of practical
reasons, practical rationality, and the objective/subjective obligation distinction.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 288 pages
  • 162 x 239 x 32mm | 556g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • New
  • 0199794537
  • 9780199794539
  • 1,597,804

Table of contents

Abbreviations ; 1. Why I Am Not a Utilitarian ; 1.1 Utilitarianism: The good, the bad, and the ugly ; 1.2 The plan for the rest of the book ; 1.3 My aims ; 1.4 Objective oughts and objective reasons ; 1.5 Conventions that I will follow throughout the book ; 2. Consequentialism and Moral Rationalism ; 2.1 The too-demanding objection: How moral rationalism leads us to reject utilitarianism ; 2.2 The argument against utilitarianism from moral rationalism ; 2.3 How moral rationalism compels us to accept consequentialism ; 2.4 What is consequentialism? ; 2.5 The presumptive case for moral rationalism ; 2.6 Some concluding remarks ; 3. The Teleological Conception of Practical Reasons ; 3.1 Getting clear on what the view is ; 3.2 Clearing up some misconceptions about the view ; 3.3 Scanlon's putative counterexamples to the view ; 3.4 Arguments for the view ; 4. Consequentializing Commonsense Morality ; 4.1 How to consequentialize ; 4.2 The deontic equivalence thesis ; 4.3 Beyond the deontic equivalence thesis: How consequentialist theories can
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Review quote

The main contribution of the book is in arguing for a particular account of the structure of practical reasons, the upshot of which is a much more commonsensical account of consequentialism than is standardly offered ... In sum, this a very rich book, an important contribution to the consequentialist literature, but more broadly, an important contribution to our understanding of practical reason in general. * Elinor Mason, Mind * an impressive, ambitious book - a welcome addition to the literature, especially given recent anti-consequentialist trends. Even devout non-consequentialists will be intrigued by much of it. * Jean-Paul Vessel, Journal of Utilitas * An absorbing read. * Paul Schotsmans, Ethical Perspectives *
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About Douglas W. Portmore

Douglas W. Portmore is an Associate Professor of Philosophy at Arizona State University. His research focuses mainly on morality, rationality, and the interconnections between the two, but he also writes on wellbeing, posthumous harm, and the nonidentity problem.
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