Rule-utilitarianism and the slippery slope

Journal of Philosophy 75 (8):414-424 (1978)
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Abstract

It is sometimes said that permitting, say, voluntary euthanasia would erode the motivations and inhibitions supporting other, legitimate prohibitions on killing to the point where widespread disregard for the moral law would result. this paper discusses the relevance of such "slippery slope" arguments for the rule-utilitarian who claims that we can assess moral rules by asking whether their acceptance would maximize utility. first it is argued that any normative theory of this type cannot recognize slope arguments as legitimate considerations in this assessment. second, it is suggested that a theory based on the very different notion of choosing a moral code can permit slope arguments to weigh as relevant considerations

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