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Consequentialism and Commitment

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Abstract: It is sometimes claimed that a consequentialist theory such as utilitarianism has problems accommodating the importance of personal commitments to other people. However, by emphasizing the distinction between criteria of rightness and decision procedures, a consequentialist can allow for non-consequentialist decision procedures, such as acting directly on the promptings of natural affection. Furthermore, such non-consequentialist motivational structures can co-exist happily with a commitment to consequentialism. It is possible to be a self-reflective consequentialist who has genuine commitments to individuals and to moral principles, without engaging in self-deception.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 1997-12-01

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