Distinguishing Consequentialism and Non-Consequentialism

Chin Liew Ten, Professor of Philosophy, National University of Singapore

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Note 14 to Chapter 5 of the author's Mill on Liberty, which Yale University Press published in 1975. It has been included in the Victorian Web with the kind permission of the author and of the Clarendon Press, which retains copyright.

Bernard Williams discusses the problem of distinguishing consequentialism from non-consequentialism, cf. Williams, Sect. 2. See also: J. J. C. Smart, "An outline of a system of utilitarian ethics", in the same volume, p. 41; J. J. C. Smart, "Hedonistic and Ideal Utilitarianism", pp. 245-6, 248-9; and H. J. McCloskey, pp. 71-2. Using Mill as an illustration, J. L. Mackie shows how a "goal-based" moral theory can change into a "rightbased theory which treats as central "the right of persons progressively to choose how they shall live". The distinctions between goalbased, right-based, and duty-based theories are made by Ronald Dworkin, in Taking Rights Seriously, ch 6.


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