Do Consequentialists Have One Thought Too Many?

Mason, Elinor
September 1999
Ethical Theory & Moral Practice;Sep1999, Vol. 2 Issue 3, p243
Academic Journal
In this paper I defend consequentialism against the objection that consequentialists are alienated from their personal relationships through having inappropriate motivational states. This objection is one interpretation of Williams‘ claim that consequentialists will have "one thought too many". Consequentialists should cultivate dispositions to act from their concern for others. I argue that having such a disposition is consistent with a belief in consequentialism and constitutes an appropriate attitude to personal relationships. If the consequentialist has stable beliefs that friendship is justifiable in consequentialist terms, that friendship requires acting from concern for others, and furthermore if the consequentialist finds that she is concerned for others, then she will be able to form a disposition which involves acting from her concern for others without having one thought too many.


Related Articles

  • Reply to Critics. THOMSON, JUDITH JARVIS // Analysis;Oct2010, Vol. 70 Issue 4, p753 

    The author presents her response to a review on her book "Normativity." She defends the meaning of the adjective good. She responds to the objection she received with regard to her analysis of reasons-for in her recommendations that all reasons-for are reasons for believing. She also explains...

  • Consequentialist Friendship and Quasi-instrumental Goods. Byron, Michael // Utilitas;Jul2002, Vol. 14 Issue 2, p249 

    Recent literature defends consequentialism against the charge that consequentialists cannot be friends. This paper argues in rebuttal that consequentialists value friends for the wrong reasons. Even if they are motivated by love and affection, consequentialists must act as if they valued their...

  • Context, Character and Consequentialist Friendships. Upton, Candace L. // Utilitas;Sep2008, Vol. 20 Issue 3, p334 

    One prevailing objection to consequentialism holds that the consequentialist cannot promote both agent-neutral value and her own personal friendships: the consequentialist cannot be a genuine friend. Several versions of this objection have been advanced, but an even more sophisticated version of...

  • 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...

  • 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.

  • Alienation and Subjectivism in Consequentialist Theories. Tailleur, Nathaniel // Dialogue (00122246);2016 Supplement, Vol. 59, p30 

    This essay addresses a particular worry about consequentialist moral theories, namely, that by attending to the "greater good," these theories alienate individuals from their personal interests and projects, which are of special moral importance. This concern, raised by Bernard Williams, is...

  • The Common Structure of Kantianism and Act-Utilitarianism. WOODARD, CHRISTOPHER // Utilitas;Jun2013, Vol. 25 Issue 2, p246 

    This article proposes a way of understanding Kantianism, act-utilitarianism and some other important ethical theories according to which they are all versions of the same kind of theory, sharing a common structure. I argue that this is a profitable way to understand the theories discussed. It is...

  • The Moral Oracle's Test. Hansson, Sven // Ethical Theory & Moral Practice;Aug2014, Vol. 17 Issue 4, p643 

    When presented with a situation involving an agent's choice between alternative actions, a moral oracle says what the agent is allowed to do. The oracle bases her advice on some moral theory, but the nature of that theory is not known by us. The moral oracle's test consists in determining...


Read the Article


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

Try another library?
Sign out of this library

Other Topics