Consequentialism and the Agent’s Point of View

Ethics 132 (4):787-816 (2022)
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I propose and defend a novel view called “de se consequentialism,” which is noteworthy for two reasons. First, it demonstrates—contra Doug Portmore, Mark Schroeder, Campbell Brown, and Michael Smith, among others—that agent-neutral consequentialism is consistent with agent-centered constraints. Second, it clarifies the nature of agent-centered constraints, thereby meriting attention from even dedicated nonconsequentialists. Scrutiny reveals that moral theories in general, whether consequentialist or not, incorporate constraints by assessing states in a first-personal guise. Consequently, de se consequentialism enacts constraints through the very same feature that nonconsequentialist theories do.

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Nathan Robert Howard
University of Toronto, St. George Campus


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