Consequentialist Teleology and the Valuation of States of Affairs

Card, Robert F.
June 2004
Ethical Theory & Moral Practice;Jun2004, Vol. 7 Issue 3, p253
Academic Journal
Elizabeth Anderson claims that states of affairs are merely extrinsically valuable, since we value them only in virtue of the intrinsically valuable (e.g.) persons in those states of affairs. Since it considers states of affairs to be the sole bearers of intrinsic value, Anderson argues that consequentialism is incoherent because it attempts to globally maximize extrinsic value. I respond to this objection by distinguishing between two forms of consequentialist teleology and arguing that Anderson's claim is either harmless or her argument for the claim is uncompelling. On the first conception of teleology, consequentialists need not hold that states of affairs are the sole bearers of intrinsic value, which allows them to deflect this criticism. On the second account of teleology, even assuming that states of affairs are the sole bearers of intrinsic value, Anderson's argument does not necessarily defeat such views.


Related Articles

  • More lives, better lives. Belshaw, Christopher // Ethical Theory & Moral Practice;Jun2003, Vol. 6 Issue 2, p127 

    Although many people believe that more people would be better, arguments intended to show this are unconvincing. I consider one of Parfit's arguments for a related conclusion, that even when both are worth living, we ought to prefer the better of two lives. Were this argument successful, or so I...

  • Against Individualistic Justifications of Property Rights. Cruft, Rowan // Utilitas;Jun2006, Vol. 18 Issue 2, p154 

    In this article I argue that, despite the views of such theorists as Locke, Hart and Raz, most of a person's property rights cannot be individualistically justified. Instead most property rights, if justified at all, must be justified on non-individualistic (e.g. consequentialist) grounds. This,...

  • Rule-Consequentialism‘s Dilemma. Law, Iain // Ethical Theory & Moral Practice;Sep1999, Vol. 2 Issue 3, p263 

    This paper examines recent attempts to defend Rule-Consequentialism against a traditional objection. That objection takes the form of a dilemma, that either Rule-Consequentialism collapses into Act-Consequentialism or it is incoherent. Attempts to avoid this dilemma based on the idea that using...

  • Alternative Actions and the Spirit of Consequentialism. Bykvist, Krister // Philosophical Studies;Jan2002, Vol. 107 Issue 1, p45 

    The simple idea behind act-consequentialism is that we ought to choose the action whose outcome is better than that of any alternative action. In a recent issue of this journal, Erik Carlson has argued that given a reasonable interpretation of alternative actions this simple idea cannot be...

  • Against Satisficing Consequentialism. Bradley, Ben // Utilitas;Jun2006, Vol. 18 Issue 2, p97 

    The move to satisficing has been thought to help consequentialists avoid the problem of demandingness. But this is a mistake. In this article I formulate several versions of satisficing consequentialism. I show that every version is unacceptable, because every version permits agents to bring...

  • Resisting the Seductive Appeal of Consequentialism: Goals, Options, and Non-quantitative Mattering. Noggle, Robert // Utilitas;Nov2003, Vol. 15 Issue 3, p279 

    Impartially Optimizing Consequentialism (IOC) requires agents to act so as to bring about the best outcome, as judged by a preference ordering which is impartial among the needs and interests of all persons. IOC may seem to be only rational response to the recognition that one is only one person...

  • Smuggled into Existence: Nonconsequentialism, Procreation, and Wrongful Disability. Vrousalis, Nicholas // Ethical Theory & Moral Practice;Jun2013, Vol. 16 Issue 3, p589 

    The wrongful disability problem arises whenever a disability-causing, and therefore (presumptively) wrongful, procreative act is a necessary condition for the existence of a person whose life is otherwise worth living. It is a problem because it seems to involve no harm, and therefore no...

  • The 'Two Hats' Problem in Consequentialist Ethics. Goldstick, D. // Utilitas;Mar2002, Vol. 14 Issue 1, p108 

    Discusses the condition of a morally concerned mind divided against itself. Ramifications of the embrace of indirect consequentialism; Ways in which the phenomenology of moral claims seems cognitivist; Reasons why rejection of the externalist position does not really necessitate abandoning...

  • The Consequence argument and the Mind argument. Nelkin, Dana // Analysis;Apr2001, Vol. 61 Issue 2, p107 

    Discusses the consequentialism argument for the incompatibility of freedom and determinism. Relation to third strand of mind argument; Consequence of determinism; Principle of agglomeration; Fixity of past and laws.


Read the Article


Sorry, but this item is not currently available from your library.

Try another library?
Sign out of this library

Other Topics