Difference between revisions of "Consequentialism"

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A moral theory that places value entirely on the (expected) consequences of actions, as opposed to good intent, as in virtue ethics, and as opposed to actions that are required or impermissible, as in deontological ethics.
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'''Consequentialism''' is the ethical theory that people should choose their actions based on the outcomes they expect will result. How to judge outcomes is not specified, but there are many types of consequentialism that specify how outcomes should be judged. For example, [[utilitarianism]] holds that the best outcome is that which maximizes the total welfare of all people, and ethical egoism holds that the best outcome is that which maximizes their own personal interests. Consequentialism is one of three main strands of ethical thought, along with deontology, which holds that people should choose actions which conform to a prescribed list of moral rules, and virtue ethics, which holds that people should be judged by how virtuous they are, instead of by what actions they take.
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Consequentialism is often associated with maximizing the [[expected utility|expected value]] of a [[utility function]]. However, it has been argued that consequentialism is not the same thing as having a utility function because it is possible to evaluate actions based on their consequences without obeying the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Von_Neumann%E2%80%93Morgenstern_utility_theorem von Neuman-Morgenstern axioms] necessary for having a utility function, and because utility functions can also be used to implement moral theories similar to deontology.
  
 
==Blog posts==
 
==Blog posts==
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*[http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/win2011/entries/consequentialism/  Consequentialism entry on Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy]
 
*[http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/win2011/entries/consequentialism/  Consequentialism entry on Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy]
 
*[http://www.raikoth.net/consequentialism.html Consequentialism FAQ] by [[Yvain]]
 
*[http://www.raikoth.net/consequentialism.html Consequentialism FAQ] by [[Yvain]]
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*[http://people.howstuffworks.com/trolley-problem.htm Description and discussion about trolley problems]
  
 
==See also==
 
==See also==
  
*[[Utilitarianism]], [[expected utility]]
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*[[Utilitarianism]]
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*[[Utility]], [[utility function]], [[expected utility]]
 
*[[Metaethics sequence]]
 
*[[Metaethics sequence]]
 
*[[Ethical injunction]]
 
*[[Ethical injunction]]
 
*[[Shut up and multiply]]
 
*[[Shut up and multiply]]
 
*[[Hedons]], [[utils]], [[fuzzies]]
 
*[[Hedons]], [[utils]], [[fuzzies]]
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==References==
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*{{cite book
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|author= Jeremy Bentham 
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|year=1907
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|title= An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation
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|publisher= Library of Economics and Liberty }}
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*{{cite book
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|author= Perter Fishburn 
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|year=1970
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|title= Utility Theory for Decision Making
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|publisher= Huntington, NY }}
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*{{Cite journal
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|title= Consequentialism
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|author= Walter Sinnot-Armstrong
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|journal= The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2011 Edition)
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|date=2011
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|url= http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/win2011/entries/consequentialism/
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}}
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*{{Cite journal
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|title= Killing, Letting Die, and the Trolley Problem
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|author= Judith Jarvis Thonson
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|journal= The Monist
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|volume=59
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|page=204-217
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|date=1975
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}}
  
 
[[Category:Philosophy]]
 
[[Category:Philosophy]]
 
[[Category:Positions]]
 
[[Category:Positions]]
 
[[Category:Jargon]]
 
[[Category:Jargon]]

Latest revision as of 07:40, 9 September 2015

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Consequentialism is the ethical theory that people should choose their actions based on the outcomes they expect will result. How to judge outcomes is not specified, but there are many types of consequentialism that specify how outcomes should be judged. For example, utilitarianism holds that the best outcome is that which maximizes the total welfare of all people, and ethical egoism holds that the best outcome is that which maximizes their own personal interests. Consequentialism is one of three main strands of ethical thought, along with deontology, which holds that people should choose actions which conform to a prescribed list of moral rules, and virtue ethics, which holds that people should be judged by how virtuous they are, instead of by what actions they take.

Consequentialism is often associated with maximizing the expected value of a utility function. However, it has been argued that consequentialism is not the same thing as having a utility function because it is possible to evaluate actions based on their consequences without obeying the von Neuman-Morgenstern axioms necessary for having a utility function, and because utility functions can also be used to implement moral theories similar to deontology.

Blog posts

External links

See also

References

  • Jeremy Bentham (1907). An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation. Library of Economics and Liberty. 
  • Perter Fishburn (1970). Utility Theory for Decision Making. Huntington, NY.