Skip to main content
Modelling the moral dimension of decisions
Nous (2010)
  • Mark Colyvan
  • Damian Cox, Bond University
  • Katie Steele

In this paper we explore the connections between ethics and decision theory. In particular, we consider the question of whether decision theory carries with it a bias towards consequentialist ethical theories. We argue that there are plausible versions of the other ethical theories that can be accommodated by "standard" decision theory, but there are also variations of these ethical theories that are less easily accommodated. So while "standard" decision theory is not exclusively consequentialist, it is not necessarily ethically neutral. Moreover, even if our decision-theoretic models get the right answers vis-à-vis morally correct action, the question remains as to whether the motivation for the non-consequentialist theories and the psychological processes of the agents who subscribe to those ethical theories are lost or poorly represented in the resulting models.

  • ethics,
  • decision theory,
  • connections
Publication Date
September 1, 2010
Publisher Statement
Submitted Version.

Colyvan, M., Cox, D. & Steele, K. (2010). Modelling the moral dimension of decisions. Nous, 44(3), 503-529.

Access the publisher's website.

© Copyright Wiley Periodicals, Inc., 2010
Citation Information
Mark Colyvan, Damian Cox and Katie Steele. "Modelling the moral dimension of decisions" Nous Vol. 44 Iss. 3 (2010)
Available at: