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Volume 50 Issue 1-2 (January 2019), Pages 1-196

The Cost of Consequentialization (pages 100-109)

Abstract Consequentializers suggest that for all non‐consequentialist moral theories, one can come up with a consequentialist counterpart that generates exactly the same deontic output as the original theory. Thus, all moral theories can be “consequentialized.” This paper argues that this procedure, though technically feasible, deprives consequentialism of its potential for normative justification. By allowing purported counterexamples to any given consequentialist moral theory to be accommodated within that theory’s account of value, consequentializers achieve a hollow victory. The resulting deontically equivalent consequentalist counterpart that results from absorbing originally non‐consequentialist moral intuitions can now no longer explain, in a theoretically illuminating way, why certain actions are wrong and others right. The paper explains why traditional consequentialist theories did not embrace the procedure, and sketches how consequentialism can consequentialize without incurring the same cost.

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