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Abstract

My aim in this paper is to provide an effective counterexample to consequentialism. I assume that traditional counterexamples, such as Transplant (A doctor should kill one person and transplant her organs to five terminal patients, thereby saving their lives) and Judge (A judge should sentence to death an innocent person if he knows that an outraged mob will otherwise kill many innocent persons), are not effective, for two reasons: first, they make unrealistic assumptions and, second, they do not pass the rule-consequentialist institutional test. My example (The Moral Murderer), instead, assumes a realistic empirical framework and the relevant action does not undermine basic social institutions. On the contrary, it reinforces them. In The Moral Murderer, Tom (an adult male) is morally allowed to murder a person (preferably a woman) in order to be punished to death.