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Consequentialist ethical systems are ethical theories that take the moral status of all actions to depend somehow on the value of their consequences. For example, if a particular action of keeping one's promise is morally obligatory, it is made obligatory by its good consequences, or by the hypothetical good consequences of people accepting a rule that requires it (such as a rule requiring promise keeping). It is not made obligatory by God's having commanded us to keep promises, by a self-evident right-making factor that simply inheres in promise keeping, by the fact that we could not consistently will promise breaking to be universalized, or by the fact that a person of good moral character would characteristically keep the promise. Most philosophers count a theory as ...

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