Restrictive consequentialism and real friendship

Ratio 20 (2):179–193 (2007)
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A familiar objection to restrictive consequentialism is that a restrictive consequentialist is incapable of having true friendships. In this paper I distinguish between an instrumentalist and a non-instrumentalist version of this objection and argue that while the restrictive consequentialist can answer the non-instrumentalist version, restrictive consequentialism may still seem vulnerable to the instrumentalist version. I then suggest a consequentialist reply that I argue also works against this version of the objection. Central to this reply is the claim that a restrictive consequentialist is capable of true friendship if the value she aims for is not merely seen as a function of her self-regarding desires, but includes as a central constituent a form of objective value often referred to as 'flourishing' or 'self-realization'.

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Edmund Henden
Oslo Metropolitan University


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