Paradoxes of Consequentialism

Ionel Narita


Any religion has an ethical component. Thus, the examination of ethical problems is very important for religious studies. Consequentialism is an ethical doctrine according to which a fact is good only if it has good consequences. In order to avoid infinite regression, there is the need for a moral foundation in conformity with the criterion of goodness. The consequentialists proposed various criteria for goodness, such as pleasure, happiness or utility. Any fact will be judged as good only if its consequences belong to the moral basis. The correctness of ethical judgments depends on the analysis of consequence relations. This study takes into account material and strict implication as representations of consequence. Both of them generate ethical paradoxes. If consequence is represented by material implication, according to the Manichean ethics, a fact is either good or bad; there are no neutral ethical facts. If consequence is analyzed by strict implication, the necessary facts will not have a moral value. The present study is to suggest an original solution to these paradoxes.


consequentialism; Manichaeism; ethical paradoxes; strict implication; soul; utilitarianism

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