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"I was not the one to invent lies: they were created in a society divided by class and each of us inherited lies when we were born. It is not by refusing to lie that we will abolish lies: it is by eradicating class by any means necessary."--Dirty Hands (1948) by Jean-Paul Sartre

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Consequentialism is the class of normative ethical theories holding that the consequences of one's conduct are the ultimate basis for any judgement about the rightness of that conduct. Thus, from a consequentialist standpoint, a morally right act (or omission from acting) is one that will produce a good outcome, or consequence. The idea of consequentialism is commonly encapsulated in the English saying, "the ends justify the means".



The term "consequentialism" was G. E. M. Anscombe in her essay "Modern Moral Philosophy" in 1958, to describe what she saw as the central error of certain moral theories, such as those propounded by Mill and Sidgwick.


G. E. M. Anscombe objects to consequentialism on the grounds that it does not provide guidance in what one ought to do because there is no distinction between consequences that are foreseen and those that are intended.

Notable consequentialists

See also

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