The Consequentialist Ethical Theory

1919 Words 8 Pages
Consequentialist ethical theories maintain that consequences are the basis of moral evaluation. In other words, our decisions are considered either right or wrong due to their consequences (Shaw, 5). Followers of consequentialism support this premise by adhering to four essential principles. First, consequentialists abstain from disclosing on what is considered to be ‘morally valuable’. Agents of consequentialism never reference a moral framework which prescribes proper deeds, instead, they simply identify the morally correct action. Second, consequentialism claims that understanding what is ‘morally valuable’ is a foremost priority. The ethical theory dictates that before one is able to comprehend what is ‘morally valuable’, or morally good, …show more content…
According to Mulgan, consequentialists must view life from an external perspective, portraying life only in terms of the value it has to the overall value of the universe (Mulgan, 15-16). Consequentialist theories refuse to acknowledge the distinction between peoples and ignore the individualism which all humans possess in decision making and thought processes. Insisting on this abstract perception of existence, consequentialist ethical theories, such as utilitarianism, view human life as more of a unit or figure than respectful entity. Consequentialist reality is made worse when reminded that consequentialism seeks to maximize the good in the world by any means necessary (Shaw, 6). The lack of human integrity and pursuit for the maximum good added together create a volatile atmosphere which leads to the ultimate problem for consequentialism. Referring to the reality which consequentialist theories support, Pettit deems the problem for consequentialism to be that agents would be driven to do horrendous deeds, so long as they promised the best consequences (Pettit, 86-87). Given the disregard for humanity, lack of individualism, distinct decision procedure and certain circumstances, consequentialists would aim to accomplish the best consequence possible regardless of extremely immoral …show more content…
The theory of utilitarianism holds that the ‘morally good’ action is the one which maximizes the common good. Some theorists use utilitarianism to counter the popular objection to consequentialism, regarding that it ignores individualism, therefore human dignity. David O. Brink, for example, claims that utilitarianism can accommodate personal points of view if the theory is perceived as a criterion of rightness, rather than as a decision procedure (Brink, 422). Consequentialists see that individualism can still be guaranteed by utilitarianism if the theory’s decision procedure and promotion of certain values were adjusted into a criterion of rightness instead. Under normal circumstances, utilitarianism’s criterion would allow for the respect of human dignity, as people would be entitled to personal opinion, with principles to adhere to if

Related Documents

Related Topics