Rule Consequentialism Framework (La Jolla RP)

The value criterion is...rule consequentialism.

Here are some of the best justifications for a rule consequentialism framework.

Morality by very nature is a guide to action, it has to provide a normative structure that generates prohibitions or obligations on action for individual agents or else it would be meaningless.

The standard is rule consequentialism.

Prefer the standard – Actor Specificity- key to text the resolution questions what developing countries should do, so use rule consequentialism because it determines what maximizes expected wellbeing for society. Collective action results in tradeoffs and conflicts that only rule consequentialism can resolve. Woller ’97:

Gary Woller [BYU Prof., “An Overview by Gary Woller”, A Forum on the Role of Environmental Ethics, June 1997, pg. 10]

Moreover, virtually all public policies entail some redistribution of economic or political resources, such that one group's gains must come at another group's ex- pense. Consequently, public policies in a democracy must be justified to the public, and especially to those who pay the costs of those policies. Such [but] justification cannot simply be assumed a priori by invoking some higher-order moral principle. Appeals to a priori moral principles, such as environmental preservation, also often fail to acknowledge that public policies inevitably entail trade-offs among competing values. Thus since policymakers cannot justify inherent value conflicts to the public in any philosophical sense, and since public policies inherently imply winners and losers, the policymakers' duty [is] to the public interest requires them to demonstrate that the redistributive effects and value trade-offs implied by their polices are somehow to the overall advantage of society. At the same time, deontologically based ethical systems have severe practical limitations as a basis for public policy. At best, [Also,] a priori moral principles provide only general guidance to ethical dilemmas in public affairs and do not themselves suggest appropriate public policies, and at worst, they create a regimen of regulatory unreasonableness while failing to adequately address the problem or actually making it worse.   


A. No links indicts of the standard- policymakers act in cases of uncertainty without full knowledge of every consequence or implication in the universe but are always obligated to act since desirability and pain and pleasure are irrelevant

B. Preempts is/ought fallacy and empirical constraints- generally speaking countries should and do act to promote overall wellbeing and constraints only exist because a pattern of consistency maximizes well being overall- defense proves my framework is more probable

C. Deontological standards are false- ethical principles derived from the nature of pure reason generate broad stroke guidelines that fail to account for complexities in public policies and experience based factors that alter normative conclusions

D. I coopt constitutivist appeals to the nature of agency- I change the focus from individuals to the collective body of rational willers- to be a state just is to maximize utility. Thus reject autonomy freedom constraints because they paralyze state action- it’s impossible to weigh tradeoffs inherent to decisions involving opportunity costs and some constraint will always be violated.                


1. We all believe that we ought morally make the world better when we can—the burden of proof is on them to show otherwise. Thus, winning reasons to reject their standard is sufficient reason to default to the AC even if I do not win proactive reason to prefer mine. Sinott Armstrong

Sinott-Armstrong (Sinnott-Armstrong, Walter, "Consequentialism", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2011 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <>.). RP 10/31/13

Even if consequentialists can accommodate or explain away common moral intuitions, that might seem only to answer objections without yet giving any positive reason to accept consequentialism. However, most people begin with the presumption that we morally ought to make the world better when we can. The question then is only whether any moral constraints or moral options need to be added to the basic consequentialist factor in moral reasoning. (Kagan 1989, 1998) If no objection reveals any need for anything beyond consequences, then consequences alone seem to determine what is morally right or wrong, just as consequentialists claim.

Also warrants the framework- revisionary intuitionism implies consequentialism.

2. Consequentialism has the most explanatory coherence overall- it distinguishes between a criterion of right action and decision procedure for agents every day lives. Sinnott-Armstrong 2

Sinnott-Armstrong, Walter, "Consequentialism", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2012 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <>. RP 2/10/14

Instead, most consequentialists claim that overall utility is the criterion or standard of what is morally right or morally ought to be done. Their theories are intended to spell out the necessary and sufficient conditions for an act to be morally right, regardless of whether the agent can tell in advance whether those conditions are met. Just as the laws of physics govern golf ball flight, but golfers need not calculate physical forces while planning shots; so overall utility can determine which decisions are morally right, even if agents need not calculate utilities while making decisions. If the principle of utility is used as a criterion of the right rather than as a decision procedure, then classical utilitarianism does not require that anyone know the total consequences of anything before making a decision.Furthermore, a utilitarian criterion of right implies that it would not be morally right to use the principle of utility as a decision procedure in cases where it would not maximize utility to try to calculate utilities before acting. Utilitarians regularly argue that most people in most circumstances ought not to try to calculate utilities, because they are too likely to make serious miscalculations that will lead them to perform actions that reduce utility. It is even possible to hold that most agents usually ought to follow their moral intuitions, because these intuitions evolved to lead us to perform acts that maximize utility, at least in likely circumstances (Hare 1981, 46–47). Some utilitarians (Sidgwick 1907, 489–90) suggest that a utilitarian decision procedure may be adopted as an esoteric morality by an elite group that is better at calculating utilities, but utilitarians can, instead, hold that nobody should use the principle of utility as a decision procedure.This move is supposed to make consequentialism self-refuting, according to some opponents. However, there is nothing incoherent about proposing a decision procedure that is separate from one's criterion of the right. Similar distinctions apply in other normative realms. The criterion of a good stock investment is its total return, but the best decision procedure still might be to reduce risk by buying an index fund or blue-chip stocks. Criteria can, thus, be self-effacing without being self-refuting (Parfit 1984, chs. 1 and 4).Others object that this move takes the force out of consequentialism, because it leads agents to ignore consequentialism when they make real decisions. However, a criterion of the right can be useful at a higher level by helping us choose among available decision procedures and refine our decision procedures as circumstances change and we gain more experience and knowledge. Hence, most consequentialists do not mind giving up consequentialism as a direct decision procedure as long as consequences remain the criterion of rightness (but see Chappell 2001).

Also means defense must indict the conceptual possibility of the standard, not problems with it’s instantiation.

[This framework originally and generously contributed by La Jolla RP.]