How satisficers get away with murder

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10 Citations (Scopus)


Traditional Consequentialism is based on a demanding principle of impartial maximization. Michael Slote's 'Satisficing Consequentialism' aims to reduce the demands of Consequentialism, by no longer requiring us to bring about the best possible outcome. This paper presents a new objection to Satisficing Consequentialism. We begin with a simple thought experiment, in which an agent must choose whether to save the lives of ten innocent people by using a sand bag or by killing an innocent person. The main aim of the paper is to demonstrate that, if it is to avoid making unreasonable demands, Satisficing Consequentialism must allow such an agent to kill. It is argued that this result is much more counter-intuitive than the fact that Maximizing Consequentialism permits agents to kill in order to produce the best consequences. The conclusion is that Satisficing Consequentialism is not an acceptable moral theory.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41-46
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Philosophical Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2001


  • satisficing
  • consequentialism
  • maximizing
  • Slote
  • doing
  • allowing


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