Consequentialism: An Introduction

Joseph Raz

in The Morality of Freedom

Published in print September 1988 | ISBN: 9780198248071
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191598289 | DOI:

Series: Clarendon Paperbacks

 Consequentialism: An Introduction

Show Summary Details


Against Rawls's ‘separateness of persons’ objection to consequentialism, it can be replied that consequentialism does take into account differing personal viewpoints in legitimating trade‐offs between persons’ interests. Nozick's Kantian‐inspired view of rights as side‐constraints is also indecisive, as this view can only proscribe trade‐offs between individuals’ interests that have already been deemed, on independent grounds, to be impermissible. The appearance of agent‐relativity, which underlies both Nozick's case for constraints, and Nagel's argument for partiality, can to some degree be rendered consistent with consequentialism's commitment to agent‐neutrality. More precisely, what might appear to be agent‐relativity may be just agent‐neutrality, but agent‐neutrality as applied to agents’ action's reasons, rather than to their outcome reasons. Williams's argument from integrity, despite its elusiveness, may offer more promising materials for challenging consequentialism.

Keywords: action reasons; agent‐neutrality; agent‐relativity; integrity; outcome reasons; separateness of persons; side‐constraints

Chapter.  8081 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.