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It turns out that if a rational agent has a complete and consistent preference relation among possible outcomes, and uses this relation to choose between probabilistic outcomes, then the agent must act as if they are assigning a single real-numbered utility to each different (probabilistic) outcome. See the Von Neumann-Morgenstern utility theorem. This is ...


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Yes, there are several extant such theories and an infinity of possible ones. In fact, just about any ethical theory can be recast as a consequentialist theory. This is because consequentialism is a fairly schematic theory. It basically says: Act Consequentialism: an action X is right provided that X maximizes Y, where Y is the fundamental good. Rule ...


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There's actually a bit more to be said here and vN-M actually anticipated some of this; Dubra, Maccheroni and Ok (2003): Curiously, the basic idea has already been suggested, albeit elusively, by von Neumann and Morgenstern [1944, pp. 19–20]: We have conceded that one may doubt whether a person can always decide which of two alternatives he prefers. If the ...


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The act- and rule-utiitarian distinction It does not follow, because Richard Brandt first formulated the distinction, that therefore utilitarian philosophers had not recognised a distinction long before. Their recognition can be shown by their general discussion of ethical matters. Such is precisely the case with John Stuart Mill. He very evidently possessed ...


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Other responses claim that moral rightness depends on foreseen, foreseeable, intended, or likely consequences, rather than actual ones. -Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy's Entry on Consequentialism, Section 4: Which Consequences? Actual vs. Expected Consequentialisms Your philosophy has traditionally been categorized as Consequentialist. If you want, you ...


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When deontologists apply the categorical imperative, "Act only according to that maxim whereby you can, at the same time, will that it should become a universal law.", in layman terms "What would happen if everybody did the same ?", it might look like a consequentialist approach, but it is not. Note how it does not focus on the real ...


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You raise important questions. All 3 of your points are captured in known theories, but I only have good reference for 1. 2 and 3 are captured within the utility calculation itself. Each experience is not assigned the same utility due to diminishing returns, but this doesn't require weighting the utilities differently that are summed, just decreasing the ...


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I know the principle seems consequentialist at first sight, but my point is that by defining what's right not in terms of how good the actual consequences of an action are, but in terms of our reasons to believe those consequences would be good, I am not appealing directly to consequences. the reasons to believe those consequences would be good must be ...


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Your principle could be both consequentialist and dentological. In what it requires of you, in the obligation it imposes, it is plainly consequentalist but that says nothing about the considerations that make it obligatory. It could be a requirement of God (as in an ethics of divine commands) or a requirement of justice, neither of these requirements having ...


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