From guest blogger, Jane.
Classical consequentialism states that acts are morally right just because they maximize the amount of goodness in the world. In addition, act utilitarianism, the most prominent version of consequentialism, claims that the rightness or wrongness of an action is determined by its actual results, rather than its expected results. However, I intend to provide my own opinions to object the idea of act utilitarianism.
No one can predict the actual result precisely. In other words, we cannot take everything under our control, and there must be some randomness involved in the action or process. If an action is utterly determined by its result, then the result is not always as accurate as the expectation. Take basketball game as an example. Basketball fans believe that a player has a “better chance” of making a shot after having just made his last two or three shots than he does after having just missed his last two or three shots. In this case, if it is a fair game, not a single player can say if the player is going to make the shot or not. The result of the game is determined by players’ skills plus some degree of luck. Moreover, we tend to underappreciate how much randomness could impact outcomes. I use this example to demonstrate how randomness can affect the result of an action, and act utilitarianism, which is solely based on the result, is not reliable enough to determine whether the action is right or wrong.