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In Search for Plausible and Intuitive forms of Act Consequentialism

Jeremy Bentham at UCL, by Matt BrownCC BY-2.0

Consequentialist theories are often exciting and tempting as they give us a real chance at having a universalizable theory of morality and justice. As a moral theory, one can look at the different flavors of consequentialism and evaluate them against a range of features of plausible moral theories, noting if each of those features is accounted for by each theory.

In this paper, I propose a number of features that we expect to exist in plausible moral theories. I discuss these features in general, mostly appealing to intuition to justify why we expect these features. The features, roughly, are: the existence of permissible morally good acts that go beyond what is morally required; reasonable level of blameworthiness of moral agents; and finally, the moral impermissibility to compel others to do the right thing on certain occasions.

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Alhamdulillah - What one simple phrase tells us about Islam's core conceptions of justice

Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, by Victorgrigas on Wikipedia.CC BY-SA 3.0.

I recently stumbled across a story from Jerusalem in the early days of the British Mandate of Palestine. Concerns over ethnic and religious tensions between the inhabitants of Jerusalem lead the British to restrict access to holy sites by religion. British guards were now seen in quarters of Jerusalem asking for the religious identity of the passers-by before allowing them in.

In front of the Dome of the Rock, a guard would stand and ask "Musliman?"—meaning, are you a Muslim?—and if the passer by is indeed Muslim, they would respond "Musliman, alhamdulillah."—'I am a Muslim, thank God'.

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