Teleology, Consequentialism, and the Past
Act teleological theories are theories that judge an action permissible just in case its outcome is maximally good. It is usually assumed that act teleological theories cannot be past-regarding, i.e., make the permissibility of actions depend on what the past was like (e.g., on what promises were made, what wrong doings were done, and more generally on what actions were performed). I shall argue that this is not so. Although some act teleological theories, such as classical act utilitarianism, are not past-regarding, there are other types of act teleological theories that are past-regarding.
Journal of Value Inquiry 22 (2)