Objectives and Readings

A normative deontic theory is consequentialist if it rates the morality/immorality of an act on the basis of the act's consequences. Utilitarianism is the paradigm consequentialist theory.

OPTIONAL: View online introductory lecture on utilitarianism by Professor Lawrence Hinman of the University of San Diego.


After studying this material, you should be able to:

  1. Explain the difference between a deontic and an aretaic normative ethical theory.

  2. Explain the difference between consequentialism and non-consequentialism.

  3. Explain act-utilitarianism and explain arguments against it.

  4. Explain the difference between act-utilitarianism and rule-utilitarianism.

You will write about utilitarianism for your final paper. The final paper is the final exam.

Week 12 Begin Normative Theories
Deontic (act-based) vs Aretaic (virtue-based) JR Ch 7 and 8
Consequentialism Consequentialism [from Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy]
Utilitarianism "Utilitarianism" (SS)
Act- and Rule-utilitarianism Notes on Utilitarianism



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