chapter  14
27 Pages

Decision-theoretic consequentialism and the nearest and dearest objection

Our lives are given shape, meaning and value by what we hold dear, by those persons and life projects to which we are espe­ cially committed. This implies that when we act we must give a special place to those persons (typically, our family and friends) and those projects. But according to consequentialism classically conceived, the rightness and wrongness of an action is deter­ mined by the action' s consequences considered impartially, with­ out reference to the agent whose actions they are consequences of. It is the nature of any particular consequence that matters, not the identity of the agent responsible for the consequence. It seems then that consequentialism is in conflict with what makes life worth living.