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Minds, Ethics, and ConditionalsThemes from the Philosophy of Frank Jackson$
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Ian Ravenscroft

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199267989

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199267989.001.0001

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Consequentialism and the Nearest and Dearest Objection

Consequentialism and the Nearest and Dearest Objection

(p.237) 10 Consequentialism and the Nearest and Dearest Objection
Minds, Ethics, and Conditionals

Michael Smith (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter suggests that the nearest and dearest objection is best understood as attempting to show that consequentialism is, in Parfit terms, ‘indirectly collectively self-defeating’. The concern is that if significant numbers of us act to maximize neutral value we will end up living lives which are not worth living — not worth living because we will have given up precisely those projects that make our lives worth living. Consequentialism is thus indirectly collectively self-defeating: adhering to the injunction to act so as to maximize neutral value is likely to render us all worse off.

Keywords:   consequentialism, Parfit, Frank Jackson

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