Utilitas

Utilitas (2005), 17:1:85-92 Cambridge University Press
Copyright © 2005 Cambridge University Press
doi:10.1017/S0953820804001414

Biocentric Consequentialism and Value-Pluralism: A Response to Alan Carter


ROBIN ATTFIELD a1
a1 Cardiff University, Attfieldr@cardiff.ac.uk

Article author query
attfield r   [Google Scholar] 
 

Abstract

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.



null