Paper on act-consequentialism

Act-consequentialism says that agents should do whatever produces the best outcome. Some people think that accepting act-consequentialism itself would not produce the best outcome. This would make it ‘self-effacing’. Though this is strange, it’s not clear whether it’s a problem for act-consequentialism as a theory.

In a new paper published open-access here, I show that one prominent argument fails to establish that C is self-effacing for individuals. However, a slightly different argument may show that C is self-effacing for groups. This raises the intriguing possibility that it might be right for an individual, but not for a group of which they are a member, to accept a moral theory. This possibility, odd though it seems, might be helpful to consequentialists.

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