Consequentialism is the term employed to describe the view that consequences are what matter for moral, social, or political justification. The view can be applied to various objects of moral assessment (e.g., to individual actions or to the policies and institutions of the state). What consequentialist theories of justification have in common is that the objects of moral assessment are to be evaluated by appeal to the results to which they give rise. Put simply, the rightness of an action or a political policy or institution turns on its tendency to produce maximally good consequences. Hence, consequentialism takes the form of a general theory of rightness. The theory specifies the right-making criteria for actions, policies, and institutions. As such, consequentialism takes no position on the ...

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