Consequentialism and the demandingness objection
Heikkinen, Jeffrey W
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Demandingness-based objections to utilitarianism and other consequentialist moral theories constitute the most important problem facing moral philosophers today. In this Thesis, I offer an explanation of what makes the demandingness objection compelling, namely, that utilitarianism alienates us from the projects and goals that define us as individual human beings (normally taken to be a separate objection). This suggests that solving the problems demandingness considerations present involves carving out a space for these projects and goals alongside the demands of a consequentialist morality; thus, we have two nearly independent sources of normative reasons, and the real question is how they interact. Various suggestions for answering this question are considered and rejected. I also discuss how Alastair Norcross’ scalar utilitarianism “solves” the demandingness problem, what the costs of this solution are, and how it might be integrated into a theory concerning the aforementioned interaction.