The Inescapability of Consequent

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

13 Scopus citations


For non-consequentialists an agent is justified in refusing to breach certain constraints even for the sake of apparently more important, neutral goals: even, indeed, for the sake of maximizing the overall satisfaction of those very constraints. To put the message in a slogan: 'Not by my hands'. But how can non-consequentialism offer a distinctive evaluation of the social and political arrangements (say, the property conventions) that ethics presupposes? The only plausible answer is: by laying down constraints that we, the community, ought to satisfy in imposing such arrangements on individuals.'Not by our hands', as it might be put. But this response is not satisfactory. In this fundamental, political sphere of evaluation, consequentialism is inescapable.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationLuck, Value, and Commitment
Subtitle of host publicationThemes From the Ethics of Bernard Williams
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780191741500
ISBN (Print)9780199599325
StatePublished - Sep 20 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Arts and Humanities


  • Bernard Williams
  • Consequentialism
  • Ethics
  • Non-consequentialism
  • Politics


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