By Julia Driver
Routledge – 2012 – 184 pages
Series: New Problems of Philosophy
Consequentialism is the view that the rightness or wrongness of actions depend solely on their consequences. It is one of the most influential, and controversial, of all ethical theories. In this book, Julia Driver introduces and critically assesses consequentialism in all its forms.
After a brief historical introduction to the problem, Driver examines utilitarianism, and the arguments of its most famous exponents, John Stuart Mill and Jeremy Bentham, and explains the fundamental questions underlying utilitarian theory: what value is to be specified and how it is to be maximized. Driver also discusses indirect forms of consequentialism, the important theories of motive consequentialism and virtue consequentialism, and explains why the distinction between subjective and objective consequentialism is so important.
Including helpful features such as a glossary, chapter summaries, and annotated further reading at the end of each chapter, Consequentialism is ideal for students seeking an authoritative and clearly explained survey of this important problem.
"… a finely tuned explanation and defense of global consequentialism, the theory of moral evaluation according to which the moral quality of any action, intention, motive, character trait, or policy depends solely on its consequences. … Noteworthy are the number and range of the highly nuanced examples that Driver uses to illustrate the theory and to reply to objections. … Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-level undergraduates through researchers/faculty." - CHOICE
"This concise, clear, and lively gem is the most complete and sophisticated introduction to consequentialism available today. Driver's numerous illustrations will stimulate class discussion, and her forceful arguments for her novel contextual, objective, and global version of consequentialism will provoke professionals." - Walter Sinnott-Armstrong, Duke University, USA
"Julia Driver has written a truly excellent introduction to consequentialism. The presentation is very clear and well organised. Everyone interested in consequentialism will find this book useful. It is a must-read for graduate students and undergraduates taking upper-level courses in ethics. I learnt a lot from this book." - Martin Peterson, Eindhoven University of Technology, The Netherlands
Introduction 1. Classical Utilitarianism 2. Value 3. Maximization 4. Aggregation 5. Objective and Subjective Consequentialism 6. Indirection 7. Character Assessment 8. Consequentialism as Foundational in Normative Ethics. Glossary. Bibliography. Index
Julia Driver is Professor of Philosophy at Washington University in St. Louis, USA. She is the author of Uneasy Virtue (2001) and Ethics: The Fundamentals (2006), and is co-editor of the Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy, as well as co-editor of the Normative Ethics section of The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.