|Utilitas (2005), 17:1:85-92 Cambridge University Press|
Copyright © 2005 Cambridge University Press
Biocentric Consequentialism and Value-Pluralism: A Response to Alan Carter
My theory of biocentric consequentialism is first shown not to be significantly inegalitarian, despite not advocating treating all creatures equally. I then respond to Carter's objections concerning population, species extinctions, the supposed minimax implication, endangered interests, autonomy and thought-experiments. Biocentric consequentialism is capable of supporting a sustainable human population at a level compatible with preserving most non-human species, as opposed to catastrophic population increases or catastrophic decimation. Nor is it undermined by the mere conceivable possibility of counter-intuitive implications. While Carter shows that value-pluralism need not be riddled with contradictions, his version still introduces some, and faces further problems. Thus consequentialist theories may be needed to sift our values, at least if our values are commensurable. Carter's apparent suggestion that monistic theories such as biocentric consequentialism can never be harnessed to rich theories of value and must each myopically give undue prominence to a single value is questioned.