Fault lines in ethical theory

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The verdicts that standard consequentialism gives about what we are obligated to do crucially depend on what theory of value the consequentialist accepts. This makes it hard to say what separates standard consequentialist theories from nonconsequentialist theories. This article discusses how we can draw sharp lines separating standard consequentialist theories from other theories and what assumptions about goodness we must make in order to draw these lines. The discussion touches on cases of deontic constraints, cases of deontic options, and cases involved in the so-called actualism/possibilism debate. What emerges is that there are various interesting patterns relating the different commitments of consequentialism, different principles about obligation and about goodness, and different rules concerning how facts about values determine facts about obligation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Consequentialism
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages26
ISBN (Electronic)9780190905323
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020


  • Actualism
  • Axiology
  • Consequentializing
  • Constraints
  • Decision rules
  • Deontic logic
  • Options
  • Possibilism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)


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