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Subject Philosophy

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405106795.2004.x


E thics The term may be traced to G. E. M. Anscombe 's 1958 paper “Modern Moral Philosophy.” It is now a general practice to divide moral theory into consequentialism and nonconsequentialism, also called teleological and nonteleological ethics. Consequentialism or teleological ethics holds that the value of an action is determined entirely by its consequences and thus proposes that ethical life should be forwardlooking, that is, concerned with maximizing the good and minimizing the bad consequences of actions. Utilitarianism and pragmatism are important representatives of consequentialism. Sometimes consequentialism is divided into restricted or ruleconsequentialism , according to which an action is right if it accords with rules that lead to better consequences than alternative rules, and extreme or act-consequentialism , according to which an action is right if it produces better consequences than alternative actions open to the agent. Another form of consequentialism is motive-consequentialism , which holds that a motive is good if it intends to bring about the best consequences. Consequentialism has been subjected to criticism in contemporary ethics. Its major demerits are claimed to be the following. First, it is agent-neutral in that it ignores the interests, projects, and personal relationships of the moral agents themselves and can require the unlimited sacrifice ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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