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Applied ethics and social problemsMoral questions of birth, society and death$
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Tony Fitzpatrick

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9781861348609

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781861348609.001.0001

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(p.28) (p.29) Two Consequence
Applied ethics and social problems

Tony Fitzpatrick

Policy Press

What value do consequences have to promote in order to be considered good? How is that value to be measured? Consequentialism states that what makes an action good or bad depends on the effects that action engenders. In response to these questions, the most famous school of consequentialism — utilitarianism — arises. This chapter reviews three criticisms of consequentialism. First is the ‘consequentialist dilemma’ with which utilitarians have spent much time wrestling. Second is the issue that consequentialism arguably leans towards ‘agent-neutrality’. Third is the objection that consequentialism does not respect the separateness of people. The chapter ends with a discussion on consequentialism and its relevance for, and approach to, applied ethics.

Keywords:   consequentialism, consequentialist dilemma, good, actions, applied ethics, utilitarianism

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