Variable versus fixed-rate rule-utilitarianism

Philosophical Quarterly 58 (231):344–352 (2008)
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Abstract

Fixed-rate versions of rule-consequentialism and rule-utilitarianism evaluate rules in terms of the expected net value of one particular level of social acceptance, but one far enough below 100% social acceptance to make salient the complexities created by partial compliance. Variable-rate versions of rule-consequentialism and rule-utilitarianism instead evaluate rules in terms of their expected net value at all different levels of social acceptance. Brad Hooker has advocated a fixed-rate version. Michael Ridge has argued that the variable-rate version is better. The debate continues here. Of particular interest is the difference between the implications of Hooker's and Ridge's rules about doing good for others.

Author Profiles

Guy Fletcher
University of Edinburgh
Brad Hooker
University of Reading

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