By R. Lawlor
It really is normally inspiration that the demandingness challenge is in particular an issue for consequentialists as a result of the gradable nature of consequentialist theories. colors of Goodness argues that the majority ethical theories have a gradable constitution and, extra considerably, that this can be a bonus, instead of an obstacle, for these theories.
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Extra info for Shades of Goodness: Gradability, Demandingness and the Structure of Moral Theories
Consider McCloskey’s example again, but this time, suppose I am an innocent man in this situation. In fact, I am the very innocent man the sheriff would choose, if he were to choose a scapegoat. This might be because I am an orphan and a bachelor, with very few personal ties and so on. Furthermore, I don’t have an alibi. As usual, I was home, alone, playing computer games. Therefore, from the consequentialist perspective, I am the ideal candidate. Suppose, however, that the sheriff is not a consequentialist, and so refuses to take this course of action, considering it unjust.
If this is right, I agree with Mulgan that this form of satisficing consequentialism is undermined by Mulgan’s Magic Game. Here, however, I am considering the possibility, suggested by Mulgan himself, that we could modify Slote’s theory, and construct a theory based (in part) on the notion of ‘good-enough effort’. Thus the theory that I am considering now then is not Slote’s satisficing theory, but a new modified form of consequentialism. 3 Is the resulting theory a consequentialist theory? My first response is to wonder if this issue really matters.
The question is, how much weight can a person give to his own well-being? And, on my account, it is now, in response to this question that the consequentialist should appeal to impartiality, and in particular to the level of marginal utility – ‘the level at which, by giving more, I would cause as much suffering to myself or my dependents as I would relieve’32 by trying to help others. 33 I suggest the name marginal utility consequentialism. Furthermore, I suggest that marginal utility consequentialism is more plausible than the old-style impartial consequentialism.