Ethical Decision Making from a Consequentialist Perspective. A Study in Philosophical Ethics

Author: French, Robert
This book presents an account of ethical decision-making from a consequentialist perspective where a fairness constraint is placed on a utilitarian ethical theory. The work begins by analyzing both the perspective and descriptive content and the concepts of ‘what is fair’ and ‘what is best.’ The concept of ‘fairness’ is then analyzed along completely consequentialist lines and a constraint, based on this analysis, is placed on a version of negative cooperative utilitarianism which is developed in detail.


“. . . a serious answer to the author’s basic concern of how deliberate decision is to be reconciled with the denial of absolute freedom, so that moral choice may be possible.” – Prof. David McGraw, Wayne County Community College

“This book will be of interest to both graduate students and scholars working in the area of normative ethics, political philosophy, legal philosophy, free will, and public policy.” – Prof. Robert Allen

“. . . carefully explores the relations between what one should do, what one is obligated to do, and what it would be best and fair for one to do. [French’s] treatment of these questions takes the form of a carefully worked out act-consequentialist theory. One of the book’s virtues is the attention it devotes to fairness, a topic central to discussions of Rawls but strangely missing from most recent philosophy. Readers interested in how act-consequentialism can be reconciled with deontological constraints will find this book especially gripping.”- Prof. Brad Hooker, University of Reading

Table of Contents

Foreword by David McGraw
Part I
1. An Analysis of ‘Should’
2. An Analysis of ‘Fairness’
3. An Analysis of ‘Best’
4. The Free Will Problem
5. A Critique of Moral Responsibility and the Retributive Theory of Punishment
6. An Analysis of Causal Responsibility
Part II: Practical Application in the Judicial and Post-Judicial Systems
7. The Judicial System
8. The Post-Judicial System
Index of Names