Cordelia’s bond and indirect consequentialism

Nick Zangwill

in Oxford Studies in Normative Ethics, Volume 1

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780199693269
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191732058 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Studies In Normative Ethics

Cordelia’s bond and indirect consequentialism

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This paper argues that theorists who want to respect common sense morality must respect not just verdicts but also grounds for verdicts. Just as theories that baldly deny that there is any value in personal commitments or who say that personal commitments do not generate duties are problematically reversionary, so are theories that say that there is value in personal commitments but it is something foreign to common sense morality. Indirect consequentialism is in fact committed to a massive error theory about ordinary moral thought. Thus it loses the advantage it was supposed to have in comparison with direct consequentialism. In one case the massive error is over verdicts, in the other over grounds for verdicts. Neither form of consequentialism can respect matters of the heart. 

Keywords: consequentialism; loyalty; grounds; love; common sense morality; partialism; duty

Chapter.  9936 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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