SEP was of little help, saying in its concluding paragraph that
there still might be no adequate reason to deny consequentialism. We might have no reason either to deny consequentialism or to assert it. Consequentialism could then remain a live option even if it is not proven.
Obviously there are subtle variations, and it needn't depend upon a very naive utilitarianism. I liked the phrase (from the SEP)
most people begin with the presumption that we morally ought to make the world better when we can. The question then is only whether any moral constraints or moral options need to be added to the basic consequentialist factor in moral reasoning. (Kagan 1989, 1998) If no objection reveals any need for anything beyond consequences, then consequences alone seem to determine what is morally right or wrong, just as consequentialists claim
- So what sort of moral constraints / options may need to be considered, which cannot by definition be framed in terms of consequences?
Given that it seems like any moral act has consequences, I am skeptical
I'm just asking cos I came across this article in the UK press very loudly claiming that consequentialism is just obvious, at least to the refined moral (human?) thinker
moral judgments are supposed to be a matter of simple consequentialism: you add up how much suffering you think is caused by an action and balance it against the amount of good. and hey presto! An objective measure of whether something is good or bad, and by how much.
This is a worldview without tragedy or realism.
- Does consequentialism deny tragedy or the reality of suffering / morality / god / anything at all?
Seems to me that its denial does, unless it is wedded to judgments of value which are artificially limited