The alienation objection to consequentialism

Calvin C Baker, Barry Maguire

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


An ethical theory is alienating if accepting the theory inhibits the agent from fitting participation in some normative ideal, such as some ideal of integrity, friendship, or community. Many normative ideals involve nonconsequentialist behavior of some form or another. If such ideals are normatively authoritative, they constitute counterexamples to consequentialism unless their authority can be explained or explained away. We address a range of attempts to avoid such counterexamples and argue that consequentialism cannot by itself account for the normative authority of all plausible such ideals. At best, consequentialism can find a more modest place in an ethical theory that includes nonconsequentialist principles with their own normative authority.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Consequentialism
EditorsDouglas W. Portmore
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780190905347
ISBN (Print)9780190905323
Publication statusPublished - 17 Dec 2020


  • normative ideals
  • authority
  • motives
  • commitment
  • alienation


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  • Must I benefit myself?

    Cholbi, M., 17 Dec 2020, Oxford Handbook of Consequentialism. Portmore, D. W. (ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press, p. 253-268 15 p.

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

    Open Access

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