Consequentializing agent‐centered restrictions: A Kantsequentialist approach

Analytic Philosophy 64 (4):443-467 (2023)
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There is, on a given moral view, an agent-centered restriction against performing acts of a certain type if that view prohibits agents from performing an instance of that act-type even to prevent two or more others from each performing a morally comparable instance of that act-type. The fact that commonsense morality includes many such agent-centered restrictions has been seen by several philosophers as a decisive objection against consequentialism. Despite this, I argue that agent-centered restrictions are more plausibly accommodated within a consequentialist framework than within the more standard side-constraint framework. For I argue that when we combine agent-relative consequentialism with a Kantian theory of value, we arrive at a version of consequentialism, which I call 'Kantsequentialism', that has several advantages over the standard side-constraint approach to accommodating constraints. What’s more, I argue that Kantsequentialism doesn’t have any of the disadvantages that critics of consequentializing have presumed that such a theory must have.

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Douglas W. Portmore
Arizona State University


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