In defence of freedom consequentialism.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
Freedom consequentialism is a new consequentialist normative theory that puts personhood at the heart of morality. This theory’s measure of value is the ability of persons to understand and make their own choices, which I call “freedom”. Because its measure of value is the ability to use faculties which are, together, shared by all and only all persons, freedom consequentialism puts personhood at the heart of morality, while still being a consequentialist theory. Because of its measure of value, freedom consequentialism provides an answer the demandingness and supererogation objections which is not available to traditional consequentialist theories and which aligns with commonly-held moral intuitions on obligation and demandingness. This theory has interesting implications for normative ethics. It offers an intuitively-appealing approach to the moral status of children and gives us reason to rethink the distinctive wrong in lying. Freedom consequentialism also has interesting and useful implications for political philosophy. It gives us a method of justifying the state which allows us to maintain the common commitments to individual freedom, the justification of states and the existence of private property. It also allows us to evaluate the morality of ways in which states restrict persons’ freedom in a simple and intuitively-appealing way. While this theory is still new, and requires further work in some areas, it has interesting and promising implications which are explored in this dissertation.