August 22, 2011
CAN ONE BE BOTH A KANTIAN AND A CONSEQUENTIALIST?
David Cummiskey, Kantian Consequentialism (New York & Oxford: Oxford U. Press, 1996) ("The central problem for normative ethics is the conflict between two extremely reasonable beliefs: that we should do what is necessary to bring about the best possible consequences and that we should respect the rights of the individual. The apex and epitome of rights theory is Kantianism. Kantians and nonKantians alike assume that Kantianism, with it resonant insistence on the dignity of the individual, and consequentialism, with its plausible claim that we should do as much good as possible, are incompatible. In fact, however, Kant's theory and consequentialism are compatible. Indeed, Kantian moral theory, properly understood, generates an extremely compelling consequentialist normative theory. I call this theory 'Kantian consequentialism'." Id. at 3. "There is a significant degree of common ground between Kantian deontologists and Kantian consequentialists. Both agree that treating rational nature as an end-0f-itself suggests 'that one must seek to preserve, develop, exercise, and "honor" rational agency in oneself and to respect it in other human beings.' From this, after considerable argument, the consequentialist concludes that the basic normative principle is a requirement to maximally promote the conditions necessary for the flourishing of rational nature and happiness. Despite the absence of deontological constraints, one should not underestimate the difference between Kantian consequentialism and classical utilitarianism." Id. at 97-98.).