Critical Praise

“This is a really great book: an encompassing work of systematizing moral philosophy in the classic style. Ambitious theorizing of this scale and consequence is a rare treat in the contemporary landscape, so Portmore’s thorough development of a comprehensive moral theory will serve as a model for much work to come. The view outlined in these pages is repeatedly insightful and illuminating, and forms a coherent package worthy of admiration. An important contribution to the field.” — Mark Schroeder, Philosophy, University of Southern California.

It is well worth the reader's time to accompany Portmore on this journey to the heart of consequentialism and back again: the overall strategy is ingenious, and the arguments are as rigorous as they are provocative. Both the debates within consequentialism and those between consequentialists and their critics are advanced, and Portmore provides the reader with a wealth of new philosophical tools to advance them still further. Paul Hurley (Claremont McKenna College), Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews.

Commonsense Consequentialism is an impressive, ambitious book a  welcome addition to the literature, especially given recent anti-consequentialist trends. Even devout non-consequentialists will be intrigued by much of it. Portmore’s clarity of exposition, rigorous argumentation and dialectical prowess provide for an engaging philosophical encounter, as do the vast range of topics in moral philosophy he investigates. Portmore’s thoughtful, earnest, responsible and occasionally provocative nature shines throughout the book. Jean-Paul Vessel (New Mexico State University), Utilitas.

There are a lot of good ideas and clever arguments in Douglas Portmore’s Commonsense Consequentialism: Wherein Morality Meets Rationality. Frances Howard-Snyder (Western Washington University), Ethics

The ambition of this book should be apparent. The execution is admirable. Commonsense Consequentialism deserves the sustained attention of anyone thinking seriously about abstract normative theory. Mark van Roojen (University of Nebraska, Lincoln), The Philosophical Quarterly.

"Douglas Portmore achieves a great deal in his Commonsense Consequentialism. He offers an account of objective rationality that is not simply a slight variation on a standard account, and he uses it as the foundation for a moral framework that – unlike many – gives due attention to such phenomena as supererogation, agent-centered restrictions, and various forms of optionality." Joshua Gert (College of William and Mary), forthcoming in Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.

"Commonsense Consequentialism is indeed marvelously original. We have never seen a moral theory like this one, and that is one of the book’s greatest strengths. Its other main strengths are clarity and comprehensiveness. There are two senses in which the book is comprehensive. First, because it takes a unified, coherent approach to so many moral issues—e.g., the nature of goodness, the relationship between morality and rationality, the possibility of moral dilemmas and supererogation, the existence of agent-centered options and agent-centered constraints—it makes clear how those issues are interrelated and clarifies more generally the relationship between the more substantive and the more meta-questions in ethics. ...Second, in most cases Portmore arrives at his judgments on these controversial questions only after taking account of, and in many cases explicitly responding to, all of the relevant literature on them. Considering how many different controversies Portmore weighs in on, his thoroughness represents a monumental effort." Ben Sachs (University of St. Andrews), Journal of Moral Philosophy.

"This a very rich book, an important contribution to the consequentialist literature, but more broadly, an important contribution to our understanding of practical reason in general." Elinor Mason (University of Edinburgh), forthcoming in Mind.