Category Archives: Steven Shavell

Louis Kaplow and Steven Shavell

[C]onsequentialists generally have not systematically elaborated how an ideal moral system should be specified; instead, they have tended to be reactive, offering rationalizations of existing moral rules or responses to particular conundrums put forward by critics. For example, consequentialists sometimes invoke various assumptions about human nature to explain certain imperfections in the moral system or to make sense of particular, problematic examples. Yet, no matter how plausible such arguments are in a given context, one is left wondering whether the consequentialist’s assumptions are employed consistently across contexts, and, more fundamentally, what would be the conclusions if one thoroughly investigated the assumptions’ implications.

Louis Kaplow and Steven Shavell, ‘Human Nature and the Best Consequentialist Moral System’, Discussion Paper No. 349, Harvard Law School, p. 3