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Date of Submission


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Alex Rajczi

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This paper explores the broad question of whether a moral theory could be correct and require substantial changes to the degree to which people currently self-sacrifice for the greater good, using standard act-consequentialism as a barometer. Specifically, the paper analyzes whether the demands of standard act-consequentialism are alienating and, if so, whether they are so alienating that standard act-consequentialism cannot be legitimate. To do so, this paper will present and evaluate essays by Bernard Williams, Peter Railton, and Robert Goodin, analyzing the conclusions they make about standard act-consequentialism. This paper makes the argument that there may be an irreconcilable tension between alienation and the consequentialist criterion of rightness that none of the three authors can settle. Importantly, this paper will show that the alienation critique may be more difficult to solve than either the consequentialist or the critic of consequentialist would make it seem. This conclusion beckons the question if there are other methods to get closer to the consequentialist criterion of rightness without causing alienation, and the paper will sketch one potential way to do so at the end of Chapter 3.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.