The Dimensions of Consequentialism

3TU.Ethics coorganizes an open, international workshop The Dimensions of Consequentialism on the work of Martin Peterson, a member of 3TU.Ethics from Eindhoven University.

The conference takes place at the University of Konstanz, on November 16-17, 2013.


In his new book “The Dimensions of Consequentialism” (Cambridge University Press, 2013), Martin Peterson introduces a new type of consequentialist theory: multi-dimensional consequentialism.  According to this theory, an act’s moral rightness depends on several separate dimensions, including wellbeing, equality, and risk. Peterson aims to show that moral views about equality and risk that were previously thought to be mutually incompatible can be rendered compatible. In this context, Peterson argues for there being degrees of rightness rather than rightness being an all-or-nothing property. What is supposed to make Peterson’s multi-dimensional consequentialism attractive is that it can account for intuitions that are widely thought to speak against traditional versions of consequentialism. While one-dimensional consequentialists concede that virtually any act could be right provided that the net benefit is optimal when calculated in the appropriate way, the multi- dimensional theory proposed by Peterson seems to avoid this counter-intuitive conclusion. At best, acts that, for example, lead to someone being better off at the expense of another, or which produce unfair inequalities, or which are risky, could be right to some degree but not entirely right, no matter how well these acts score with respect to other aspects.

The programme, invited speakers and other important information can be found here: