• Entry
  • Reader's guide
  • Entries A-Z
  • Subject index

Consequentialist Ethical Systems

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 ...

  • Loading...
locked icon

Sign in to access this content

Get a 30 day FREE TRIAL

  • Watch videos from a variety of sources bringing classroom topics to life
  • Read modern, diverse business cases
  • Explore hundreds of books and reference titles