Utilitas

Research Article

Consequentialism and Permissibility

BRIAN MCELWEEa1

a1 Lincoln College, University of Oxford brian.mcelwee@lincoln.ox.ac.uk

Abstract

Scalar consequentialism, recently championed by Alastair Norcross, holds that the value of an action varies according to the goodness of its consequences, but eschews all judgements of moral permissibility and impermissibility. I show that the strongest version of scalar consequentialism is not vulnerable to the objection that it is insufficiently action-guiding. Instead, the principle objection to the scalar view is simply that it leaves out important and interesting ethical judgements. In demonstrating this, I counter Rob Lawlor's contention that consequentialists cannot consistently care about permissibility and impermissibility.