What is Consequentialism? A Reply to Howard-Snyder

Journal Article (Journal Article)

If there is a moral reason for A to do X, and if A cannot do X without doing Y, and if doing Y will enable A to do X, then there is a moral reason for A to do Y. This principle is plausible but mysterious, so it needs to be explained. It can be explained by necessary enabler consequentialism, but not by other consequentialisms or any deontological moral theory. Or so I argue. Frances Howard-Snyder objects that this argument fails to establish consequentialism as understood by ‘most philosophers’, because it fails to establish agent-neutrality. I respond by distinguishing consequentialism, which need not be agent-neutral, from utilitarianism, which claims agent-neutrality. Howard-Snyder also presents a schema for a non-consequentialist theory that is supposed to explain moral substitutability. I respond that her explanation cannot be completed without introducing incoherence into deontological moral theories. © 2001, Cambridge University Press. All rights reserved.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Sinnott-Armstrong, W

Published Date

  • January 1, 2001

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 13 / 3

Start / End Page

  • 342 - 349

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1741-6183

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0953-8208

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1017/S0953820800003228

Citation Source

  • Scopus