Consequentialism, rationality and the relevant description of outcomes
Bruno Verbeek a1 a1 Research School of Social Sciences, Australian National University
Instrumental rationality requires that an agent selects those actions that give her the best outcomes. This is the principle of consequentialism. It may be that it is not the only requirement of this form of rationality. Considerations other than the outcomes may enter the picture as well. However, the outcome(s) of an action always play a role in determining its rationality. Seen in this light consequentialism is a minimum requirement of instrumental rationality. Therefore, any theory that tries to spell out the implications of instrumental rationality, in particular expected utility theory, should subscribe to the principle of consequentialism. Or so it seems.