Consequentialism and Its Demands: The Role of Institutions

Acta Analytica:1-21 (forthcoming)
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Consequentialism is often criticised as being overly demanding, and this overdemandingness is seen as sufficient to reject it as a moral theory. This paper takes the plausibility and coherence of this objection – the Demandingness Objection – as a given. Our question, therefore, is how to respond to the Objection. We put forward a response that we think has not received sufficient attention in the literature: institutional consequentialism. On this view institutions take over the consequentialist burden, whereas individuals, special occasions aside, are required to set up and maintain institutions. We first introduce the Objection, then explain the theory of institutional consequentialism and how it responds to the Objection. In the remainder of the paper, we defend the view against potential challenges.

Author Profiles

Attila Tanyi
University of Tromsø
András Miklós
University of Rochester


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