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Oxford Studies in Normative Ethics Volume 10$
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Mark Timmons

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780198867944

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198867944.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 07 December 2021

The Rule Worship and Idealization Objections Revisited and Resisted

The Rule Worship and Idealization Objections Revisited and Resisted

(p.131) 6 The Rule Worship and Idealization Objections Revisited and Resisted
Oxford Studies in Normative Ethics Volume 10

David Copp

Oxford University Press

There are two familiar and important challenges to the rule consequentialist picture, Smart’s “rule worship objection” and the “idealization objection.” This chapter defends rule consequentialism (RC) against these challenges. It argues that to satisfactorily meet the rule worship objection, we need to reconceptualize RC. We need to think of it as not fundamentally a rival to act consequentialism or deontology or virtue theory. Instead, it can potentially adjudicate among these views. It is best viewed as a “second-order” theory that rests on a view about the nature and point of morality. The rule worship objection can be answered if we interpret RC in this way. The idealization objection can seem more difficult because it appears to arise from the basic RC approach to evaluating rules. This chapter suggests, however, that the idealization objection boils down to a familiar problem about conflicts of pro tanto duties. RC can handle it in the way that it handles such conflict.

Keywords:   rule consequentialism, rule worship, idealization, conflicts of duties, Brandt, Hooker, Smart

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