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Journal of Philosophical Research

Volume 25, 2000

Dennis R. Cooley
Pages 363-380

Readjusting Utility for Justice

Despite the best efforts of utilitarians, justice remains a serious problem for consequentialism. Many counterexamples have been described which show that an agent may be obligated to do a gross injustice, according to hedonic utilitarianism, just because it maximizes utility. Fred Feldman attempts to avoid this result by adjusting utility for justice. In this paper, I examine Feldman’s axiology and his normative theory of world utilitarianism, and show that, ultimately, he is not successful in his endeavor. Though Feldman’s theories may not fall prey to exactly the same counterexamples that others do, they are still susceptible to versions of them.

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