On Good People: A New Defense of Rule-consequentialism

Ryan R. Jenkins, University of Colorado at Boulder


Rule-consequentialism is an ethical theory that does a better job than any other of justifying our moral intuitions from a single overarching principle. My dissertation defends a novel formulation of this view as an account of a good person.

First, I argue that a rule-consequentialist does "what a good person would do," and that if everyone were like her, the world would be as good as possible.

Second, good people sometimes do more than is required of them, and so a theory of the good person must explain supererogation, i.e. "going above and beyond the call of duty."

Third, I argue that rule-consequentialists have good reasons to embrace different moral codes for different societies.

Finally, I show that it is fruitful to understand just war theory as a set of near-absolute constraints designed to minimize the horror of war.