Dual-Ranking Act-Consequentialism

Douglas W. Portmore

in Commonsense Consequentialism

Published in print November 2011 | ISBN: 9780199794539
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199919260 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Moral Theory

Dual-Ranking Act-Consequentialism

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The chapter argues that in order to accommodate many typical agent-centered options and to resolve the paradox of supererogation, we should accept that non-moral reasons can, and sometimes do, prevent moral reasons, even those with considerable moral requiring strength, from generating moral requirements. What's more, we should accept that an agent's performing a given act is morally permissible if and only if there is no available alternative that she has both more (moral) requiring reason and more reason, all things considered, to perform. And it is argued that, given this account of moral permissibility, the consequentialist has no choice but to adopt a dual-ranking version of consequentialism—one that ranks outcomes both in terms of how much moral reason the agent has to want them to obtain and in terms of how much reason, all things considered, the agent has to want them to obtain.

Keywords: overridingness; paradox of supererogation; moral reasons; non-moral reasons; agent-centered options; transitivity; independence axiom; Alastair Norcross; Clay Splawn

Chapter.  17665 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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