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Dual-Ranking Act-Consequentialism

Douglas W. Portmore
Philosophical Studies: An International Journal for Philosophy in the Analytic Tradition
Vol. 138, No. 3 (Apr., 2008), pp. 409-427
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40208883
Page Count: 19
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Dual-Ranking Act-Consequentialism
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Abstract

Dual-ranking act-consequentialism (DRAC) is a rather peculiar version of act-consequentialism. Unlike more traditional forms of act-consequentialism, DRAC doesn't take the deontic status of an action to be a function of some evaluative ranking of outcomes. Rather, it takes the deontic status of an action to be a function of some non-evaluative ranking that is in turn a function of two auxiliary rankings that are evaluative. I argue that DRAC is promising in that it can accommodate certain features of commonsense morality that no single-ranking version of act-consequentialism can: supererogation, agent-centered options, and the self-other asymmetry. I also defend DRAC against three objections: (1) that its dual-ranking structure is ad hoc, (2) that it denies (putatively implausibly) that it is always permissible to make self-sacrifices that don't make things worse for others, and (3) that it violates certain axioms of expected utility theory, viz., transitivity and independence.

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