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Ethical Theory and Moral Practice

, Volume 19, Issue 1, pp 39–47 | Cite as

Rightness, Parsimony, and Consequentialism: A Response to Peterson

  • Roger Crisp
Article
  • 209 Downloads

Abstract

This paper argues against Martin Peterson in favour of the ‘standard view’ of rightness, according to which rightness does not come in degrees. It begins (section 1) with a defence of the standard view against the charge that it is committed to ‘deontic leaps’. It goes on (section 2) to claim that greater conceptual parsimony would allow Peterson to avoid certain problems involving equality and related matters that arise out of his conception of moral value, and that Peterson should take the same instrumentalist attitude towards the norms of practical rationality as he does towards the norms of common-sense morality. The paper closes (section 3) with some doubts about Peterson’s programme of consequentialization and its alleged advantages.

Keywords

Peterson, Martin Consequentialism Rightness Deontology Rationality 

Notes

Acknowledgments

For comments on and/or discussion of earlier drafts, I am grateful to participants in a workshop on Peterson’s book, organized by Vuko Andrić and Attila Tanyi at the University of Konstanz, November 2013, as well as to Attila Tanyi, Martin van Hees, and an anonymous reader for this journal.

References

  1. Crisp R (1997) Mill on utilitarianism. Routledge, LondonGoogle Scholar
  2. Mill JS (1998) Utilitarianism. Oxford University Press, Oxford, Ed. R CrispGoogle Scholar
  3. Peterson M (2013) The dimensions of consequentialism: ethics, equality and risk. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Ross WD (2002) The right and the good. Clarendon Press, Oxford, Ed. P Stratton-LakeCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Stratton-Lake P (1997) Can Hooker’s rule consequentialism justify Ross’s prima facie duties? Mind 106:751–758CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.St Anne’s CollegeOxfordUK
  2. 2.Uehiro Centre for Practical EthicsOxfordUK

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