con·​se·​quen·​tial·​ism ˌkän(t)-sə-ˈkwen(t)-shə-ˌli-zəm How to pronounce consequentialism (audio)
: the theory that the value and especially the moral value of an act should be judged by the value of its consequences
consequentialist adjective or noun

Examples of consequentialism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web And his ethical philosophy remained focused on suffering, a good fit for British utilitarian consequentialism, an intellectual tradition in which promoting pleasure and reducing pain are seen as the primary mandates of ethics. Oliver Traldi, Washington Post, 4 May 2023 The second avenue is one of consequentialism. Razib Khan, Discover Magazine, 24 Mar. 2011 The Trolley Problem is a thought experiment in ethics that presents a moral dilemma, often used to explore the principles of consequentialism and deontology. WIRED, 24 Mar. 2023 By the yardstick of consequentialism and the Declaration of Helsinki, the super-soldier experiment and Steve Rogers' enlistment in the military were ethical. Kyle Munkittrick, Discover Magazine, 11 June 2011 Moreover, while Robinson is willing to come right out and embrace judicial consequentialism, the entirety of the Democratic Caucus in the Senate is willing to do so implicitly. Isaac Schorr, National Review, 29 Sep. 2020 In their pursuit of survival, men and women employ Machiavellian game theory and adopt a bleak consequentialism. Jiayang Fan, The New Yorker, 17 June 2019 In moral philosophy, this approach, distinct from virtue ethics, is called consequentialism. Ian Bogost, The Atlantic, 30 Mar. 2018 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'consequentialism.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


consequential + -ism

First Known Use

1958, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of consequentialism was in 1958

Dictionary Entries Near consequentialism

Cite this Entry

“Consequentialism.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Dec. 2023.

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