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  1. Numbers, Fairness and Charity.Adam Hosein - manuscript
    This paper discusses the "numbers problem," the problem of explaining why you should save more people rather than fewer when forced to choose. Existing non-consequentialist approaches to the problem appeal to fairness to explain why. I argue that this is a mistake and that we can give a more satisfying answer by appealing to requirements of charity or beneficence.
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  2. Consequentialism, Time, and Value.David Killoren - manuscript
    Is consequentialism consistent with common-sense morality? I argue for a negative answer to this question. In Sections 1-4, I develop and defend a definition for “consequentialism.” In Section 5, I attempt to show that, given this definition, consequentialism and common-sense morality cannot be reconciled. In Section 6, I argue that, on the definition of consequentialism I defend, consequentialism should be understood, not as a view about the relationship between the deontic and the evaluative (as many philosophers suppose), but as a (...)
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  3. Ethics Without Numbers.Jacob M. Nebel - manuscript
    This paper develops an alternative to the standard framework of social welfare functionals. In the standard framework, a social or overall betterness ordering is assigned to each profile of utility functions, where utilities are real numbers. Different possibilities for the measurability and interpersonal comparability of well-being are captured, in this framework, by invariance conditions on social welfare functionals. But these invariance conditions are highly restrictive and it is not clear whether they really follow from the underlying measurability/comparability possibilities with which (...)
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  4. Exceeding Expectations: Stochastic Dominance as a General Decision Theory.Christian Tarsney - manuscript
    The principle that rational agents should maximize expected utility or choiceworthiness is intuitively plausible in many ordinary cases of decision-making under uncertainty. But it is less plausible in cases of extreme, low-probability risk (like Pascal's Mugging), and intolerably paradoxical in cases like the St. Petersburg and Pasadena games. In this paper I show that, under certain conditions, stochastic dominance reasoning can capture most of the plausible implications of expectational reasoning while avoiding most of its pitfalls. Specifically, given sufficient background uncertainty (...)
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  5. The Many, the Few, and the Nature of Value.Daniel Muñoz - forthcoming - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy.
    John Taurek argues that, in a choice between saving the many or the few, the numbers should not count. Some object that this view clashes with the transitivity of ‘better than’; others insist the clash can be avoided. I defend a middle ground: Taurek cannot have transitivity, but that doesn’t doom his view, given a suitable conception of value. I then formalize and explore two conceptions: one context-sensitive, one multidimensional.
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  6. Aggregation Without Interpersonal Comparisons of Well‐Being.Jacob M. Nebel - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
    This paper is about the role of interpersonal comparisons in Harsanyi's aggregation theorem. Harsanyi interpreted his theorem to show that a broadly utilitarian theory of distribution must be true even if there are no interpersonal comparisons of well-being. How is this possible? The orthodox view is that it is not. Some argue that the interpersonal comparability of well-being is hidden in Harsanyi's premises. Others argue that it is a surprising conclusion of Harsanyi's theorem, which is not presupposed by any one (...)
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  7. Sorites On What Matters.Theron Pummer - forthcoming - In Jeff McMahan, Timothy Campbell, Ketan Ramakrishnan & Jimmy Goodrich (eds.), Ethics and Existence: The Legacy of Derek Parfit. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    Ethics in the tradition of Derek Parfit’s Reasons and Persons is riddled with sorites-like arguments, which lead us by what seem innocent steps to seemingly false conclusions. Take, for example, spectrum arguments for the Repugnant Conclusion that appeal to slight differences in quality of life. Several authors have taken the view that, since spectrum arguments are structurally analogous to sorites arguments, the correct response to spectrum arguments is structurally analogous to the correct response to sorites arguments. I argue against this (...)
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  8. Other People.Kieran Setiya - forthcoming - In Sarah Buss & Nandi Theunissen (eds.), Rethinking the Value of Humanity.
    Argues for the role of personal acquaintance in both love and concern for individuals, as such. The challenge is to say what personal acquaintance is and why it matters in the way it does. These questions are addressed through the work of Emmanuel Levinas. Topics include: the ethics of aggregation, the basis of moral standing, and the value of human life.
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  9. Utilitarianism Without Moral Aggregation.Johan E. Gustafsson - 2021 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 51 (4):256-269.
    Is an outcome where many people are saved and one person dies better than an outcome where the one is saved and the many die? According to the standard utilitarian justification, the former is better because it has a greater sum total of well-being. This justification involves a controversial form of moral aggregation, because it is based on a comparison between aggregates of different people's well-being. Still, an alternative justification-the Argument for Best Outcomes-does not involve moral aggregation. I extend the (...)
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  10. Aggregation, Balancing, and Respect for the Claims of Individuals.Bastian Steuwer - 2021 - Utilitas 33 (1):17-34.
    Most non-consequentialists “let the numbers count” when one can save either a lesser or greater number from equal or similar harm. But they are wary of doing so when one can save either a small number from grave harm or instead a very large number from minor harm. Limited aggregation is an approach that reconciles these two commitments. It is motivated by a powerful idea: our decision whom to save should respect each person who has a claim to our help, (...)
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  11. Contractualism, Complaints, and Risk.Bastian Steuwer - 2021 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 19 (2).
    How should contractualists assess the permissibility of risky actions? Both main views on the question, ex ante and ex post, fail to distinguish between different kinds of risk. In this article, I argue that this overlooks a third alternative that I call “objective ex ante contractualism”. Objective ex ante substitutes discounting complaints by epistemic risk in favor of discounting by objective risk. I further argue in favor of this new view. Objective ex ante contractualism provides the best model of justifiability (...)
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  12. An Opinionated Guide to “What Makes Someone’s Life Go Best”.Chris Heathwood - 2020 - In Andrea Sauchelli (ed.), Derek Parfit’s Reasons and Persons: An Introduction and Critical Inquiry. Routledge. pp. 94-113.
    Derek Parfit's monumental 1984 book Reasons and Persons contains a little appendix called "What Makes Someone's Life Go Best," a mini-essay on well-being that has taken on a life of its own apart from the body to which it is attached. This paper serves as a critical guide to that appendix. Topics include: the nature of pleasure and pain and its relation to theories of well-being; the unrestricted desire-fulfillment theory and the problem of remote desires; whether a person's actual preferences (...)
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  13. Ignorance, Beneficence, and Rights.Kieran Setiya - 2020 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 17 (1):56-74.
    I argue that ignorance of who will die makes a difference to the ethics of killing. It follows that reasons are subject to ‘specificity’: it can be rational to respond more strongly to facts that provide us with reasons than to the fact that such reasons exist. In the case of killing and letting die, these reasons are distinctively particular: they turn on personal acquaintance. The theory of rights must be, in part, a theory of this relation.
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  14. One-by-One: Moral Theory for Separate Persons.Bastian Steuwer - 2020 - Dissertation, London School of Economics
    You and I lead different lives. While we share a society and a world, our existence is separate from one another. You and I matter individually, by ourselves. My dissertation is about this simple thought. I argue that this simple insight, the separateness of persons, tells us something fundamental about morality. My dissertation seeks to answer how the separateness of persons matters. I develop a precise view of the demands of the separateness of persons. The separateness of persons imposes both (...)
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  15. Why It Does Not Matter What Matters: Relation R, Personal Identity, and Moral Theory.Bastian Steuwer - 2020 - Philosophical Quarterly 70 (278):178-198.
    Derek Parfit famously argued that personal identity is not what matters for prudential concern about the future. Instead, he argues what matters is Relation R, a combination of psychological connectedness and continuity with any cause. This revisionary conclusion, Parfit argued, has profound implications for moral theory. It should lead us, among other things, to deny the importance of the separateness of persons as an important fact of morality. Instead, we should adopt impersonal consequentialism. In this paper, I argue that Parfit (...)
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  16. Healthy Nails Versus Long Lives: An Analysis of a Dutch Priority Setting Proposal.Alex Voorhoeve - 2020 - In Nir Eyal, Samia A. Hurst, Christopher Murray, S. Andrew Schroeder & Daniel Wikler (eds.), Measuring the Global Burden of Disease: Philosophical Dimensions. New York, NY, USA: pp. 273-292.
    How should governments balance saving people from very large individual disease burdens (such as an early death) against saving them from middling burdens (such as erectile dysfunction) and minor burdens (such as nail fungus)? This chapter considers this question through an analysis of a priority-setting proposal in the Netherlands, on which avoiding a multitude of middling burdens takes priority over saving one person from early death, but no number of very small burdens can take priority over avoiding one death. It (...)
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  17. Contratualismo ex post e ex ante: como evitar a agregação.Gustavo Oliva de Oliveira - 2019 - In Eduardo Alves, Gregory Gaboardi, Claiton Silva da Costa & David Fraga (eds.), XIX Semana Acadêmica do PPG em Filosofia da PUCRS - Volume 1. Porto Alegre, RS, Brasil: pp. 131-139.
    Contractualism has obtained relative success in moral theory for being able to deal with cases in which consequentialist theories of morality fail, specially those that involve problems with aggregation. Aggregation is, simply put, the ideia that we should measure the value of an action not by considering how it affects each individual, but by adding the good its consequences produce, looking for the best "balance" of good. Philosophers like John Rawls and T. M. Scanlon pointed out that aggregation seems to (...)
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  18. Axiological Absolutism and Risk.Seth Lazar & Chad Lee-Stronach - 2019 - Noûs 53 (1):97-113.
    Consider the following claim: given the choice between saving a life and preventing any number of people from temporarily experiencing a mild headache, you should always save the life. Many moral theorists accept this claim. In doing so, they commit themselves to some form of ‘moral absolutism’: the view that there are some moral considerations that cannot be outweighed by any number of lesser moral considerations. In contexts of certainty, it is clear what moral absolutism requires of you. However, what (...)
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  19. No Free Lunch: The Significance of Tiny Contributions.Zach Barnett - 2018 - Analysis 78 (1):3-13.
    There is a well-known moral quandary concerning how to account for the rightness or wrongness of acts that clearly contribute to some morally significant outcome – but which each seem too small, individually, to make any meaningful difference. One consequentialist-friendly response to this problem is to deny that there could ever be a case of this type. This paper pursues this general strategy, but in an unusual way. Existing arguments for the consequentialist-friendly position are sorites-style arguments. Such arguments imagine varying (...)
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  20. Limited Aggregation and Risk.Seth Lazar - 2018 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 46 (2):117-159.
    Many of us believe (1) Saving a life is more important than averting any number of headaches. But what about risky cases? Surely: (2) In a single choice, if the risk of death is low enough, and the number of headaches at stake high enough, one should avert the headaches rather than avert the risk of death. And yet, if we will face enough iterations of cases like that in (2), in the long run some of those small risks of (...)
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  21. Spectrum Arguments and Hypersensitivity.Theron Pummer - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (7):1729-1744.
    Larry Temkin famously argues that what he calls spectrum arguments yield strong reason to reject Transitivity, according to which the ‘all-things-considered better than’ relation is transitive. Spectrum arguments do reveal that the conjunctions of independently plausible claims are inconsistent with Transitivity. But I argue that there is very strong independent reason to reject such conjunctions of claims, and thus that the fact that they are inconsistent with Transitivity does not yield strong reason to reject Transitivity.
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  22. Epistemic Consequentialism: Haters Gonna Hate.Nathaniel Sharadin - 2018 - In Christos Kyriacou & Robin McKenna (eds.), Metaepistemology: Realism & Antirealism. Palgrave MacMillan. pp. 121-143.
    Epistemic consequentialism has been charged with ignoring the epistemic separateness of propositions and with (thereby) allowing trade-offs between propositions. Here, I do two things. First, I investigate the metaphor of the epistemic separateness of propositions. I argue that either (i) the metaphor is meaningfully unpacked in a way that is modeled on the moral separateness of persons, in which case it doesn’t support a ban on trade-offs or (ii) it isn’t meaningfully unpacked, in which case it really doesn’t support a (...)
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  23. Balancing Small Against Large Burdens.Alex Voorhoeve - 2018 - Behavioural Public Policy 2 (1):125-142.
    Common principles for resource allocation in health care can prioritize the alleviation of small health burdens over lifesaving treatment. I argue that there is some evidence that these principles are at odds with a sizable share of public opinion, which holds that saving a life should take priority over any number of cures for minor ailments. I propose two possible explanations for this opinion, one debunking and one vindicatory. I also outline how well-designed surveys and moral inquiry could help decide (...)
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  24. Review of Iwao Hirose, Moral Aggregation. [REVIEW]Johan E. Gustafsson - 2017 - Mind 126 (503):964-967.
    © Mind Association 2017In a choice between saving five people or saving another person, is it better to save the five, other things being equal? According to utilitarianism, it would be better to save the five if the combined gain in well-being for them would be greater than the loss for the one. A standard objection is that adding up the gains or losses of different people in this manner is a problematic form of interpersonal aggregation. It is far from (...)
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  25. Why One Should Count Only Claims with Which One Can Sympathize.Alex Voorhoeve - 2017 - Public Health Ethics 10 (2):148-156.
    When one faces competing claims of varying strength on public resources for health, which claims count? This paper proposes the following answer. One should count, or aggregate, a person’s claim just in case one could sympathize with her desire to prioritize her own claim over the strongest competing claim. It argues that this principle yields appealing case judgments and has a plausible grounding in both sympathetic identification with each person, taken separately, and respect for the person for whom most is (...)
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  26. Mixed Feelings About Mixed Solutions.Jan Gertken - 2016 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 19 (1):59-69.
    The numbers problem concerns the question of what is the right thing to do in trade-off cases where one can save different non-overlapping groups of persons, but not everyone. Proponents of mixed solutions argue that both saving the many and holding a lottery to determine whom to save can each be morally right in such cases, depending on the relative sizes of the groups involved. In his book The Dimensions of Consequentialism, Martin Peterson presents an ingenious version of such an (...)
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  27. Value Receptacles.Richard Yetter Chappell - 2015 - Noûs 49 (2):322-332.
    Utilitarianism is often rejected on the grounds that it fails to respect the separateness of persons, instead treating people as mere “receptacles of value”. I develop several different versions of this objection, and argue that, despite their prima facie plausibility, they are all mistaken. Although there are crude forms of utilitarianism that run afoul of these objections, I advance a new form of the view—‘token-pluralistic utilitarianism’—that does not.
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  28. Sequential Dominance and the Anti-Aggregation Principle.Johan E. Gustafsson - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (6):1593-1601.
    According to the widely held anti-aggregation principle, it is wrong to save a larger number of people from minor harms rather than a smaller number from much more serious harms. This principle is a central part of many influential and anti-utilitarian ethical theories. According to the sequential-dominance principle, one does something wrong if one knowingly performs a sequence of acts whose outcome would be worse for everyone than the outcome of an alternative sequence of acts. The intuitive appeal of the (...)
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  29. Why Sore Throats Don't Aggregate Against a Life, but Arms Do.Alex Voorhoeve - 2015 - Journal of Medical Ethics 41 (6):492-493.
    When do claims to be saved of a small or moderate harm aggregate against a competing claim to be saved from an early death? In this short response to Kamm's Bioethical Prescriptions, I argue for the following answer: aggregation of weaker claims against a life is permitted just in case, in a one-to-one contest, a person with a weaker claim would have a personal prerogative to prioritize her claim over a stranger’s competing claim to life.
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  30. Whole-Life Welfarism.Ben Bramble - 2014 - American Philosophical Quarterly 51 (1):63-74.
    In this paper, I set out and defend a new theory of value, whole-life welfarism. According to this theory, something is good only if it makes somebody better off in some way in his life considered as a whole. By focusing on lifetime, rather than momentary, well-being, a welfarist can solve two of the most vexing puzzles in value theory, The Badness of Death and The Problem of Additive Aggregation.
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  31. Relevance and Non-Consequentialist Aggregation.J. Paul Kelleher - 2014 - Utilitas 26 (4):385-408.
    Interpersonal aggregation involves the combining and weighing of benefits and losses to multiple individuals in the course of determining what ought to be done. Most consequentialists embrace thoroughgoing interpersonal aggregation, the view that any large benefit to each of a few people can be morally outweighed by allocating any smaller benefit to each of many others, so long as this second group is sufficiently large. This would permit letting one person die in order to cure some number of mild headaches (...)
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  32. Is There an Obligation to Reduce One’s Individual Carbon Footprint?Anne Schwenkenbecher - 2014 - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 17 (2):168-188.
    Moral duties concerning climate change mitigation are – for good reasons – conventionally construed as duties of institutional agents, usually states. Yet, in both scholarly debate and political discourse, it has occasionally been argued that the moral duties lie not only with states and institutional agents, but also with individual citizens. This argument has been made with regard to mitigation efforts, especially those reducing greenhouse gases. This paper focuses on the question of whether individuals in industrialized countries have duties to (...)
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  33. Love and the Value of a Life.Kieran Setiya - 2014 - Philosophical Review 123 (3):251-280.
    Argues that there is no one it is irrational to love, that it is rational to act with partiality to those we love, and that the rationality of doing so is not conditional on love. It follows that Anscombe and Taurek are right: you are not required to save three instead of one, even when those you could save are perfect strangers.
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  34. How Should We Aggregate Competing Claims?Alex Voorhoeve - 2014 - Ethics 125 (1):64-87.
    Many believe that we ought to save a large number from being permanently bedridden rather than save one from death. Many also believe that we ought to save one from death rather than a multitude from a very minor harm, no matter how large this multitude. I argue that a principle I call “Aggregate Relevant Claims” satisfactorily explains these judgments. I offer a rationale for this principle and defend it against objections.
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  35. Counting Without Numbers: A Non‐Aggregative Account of the Puzzle of Altruism.Carla Bagnoli - 2013 - Journal of Social Philosophy 44 (2):124-126.
  36. Aggregation and the Separateness of Persons.Iwao Hirose - 2013 - Utilitas 25 (2):182-205.
    Many critics of utilitarianism claim that we should reject interpersonal aggregation because aggregative principles do not take the separateness of persons seriously. In this article, I will reject this claim. I will first elucidate the theoretical structure of aggregation. I will then consider various interpretations of the notion of the separateness of persons and clarify what exactly those critics are trying to reject by appealing to the notion of the separateness of persons. I will argue that none of these interpretations (...)
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  37. Intuitions About Large Number Cases.Theron Pummer - 2013 - Analysis 73 (1):37-46.
    Is there some large number of very mild hangnail pains, each experienced by a separate person, which would be worse than two years of excruciating torture, experienced by a single person? Many people have the intuition that the answer to this question is No. However, a host of philosophers have argued that, because we have no intuitive grasp of very large numbers, we should not trust such intuitions. I argue that there is decent intuitive support for the No answer, which (...)
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  38. Rethinking the Good: Moral Ideals and the Nature of Practical Reasoning.Larry S. Temkin - 2012 - Oxford University Press.
    Temkin's book is a very original and deeply unsettling work of skeptical philosophy that mounts an important new challenge to contemporary ethics.
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  39. Content Aggregation, Visualization and Emergent Properties in Computer Simulations.Gordana Dodig-Crnkovic, Juan M. Durán & D. Slutej - 2010 - In Kai-Mikael Jää-Aro & Thomas Larsson (eds.), SIGRAD 2010 – Content aggregation and visualization. Linköping University Electronic Press. pp. 77-83.
    With the rapidly growing amounts of information, visualization is becoming increasingly important, as it allows users to easily explore and understand large amounts of information. However the field of information visualiza- tion currently lacks sufficient theoretical foundations. This article addresses foundational questions connecting information visualization with computing and philosophy studies. The idea of multiscale information granula- tion is described based on two fundamental concepts: information (structure) and computation (process). A new information processing paradigm of Granular Computing enables stepwise increase of (...)
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  40. Hierarchical Consequentialism.Re'em Segev - 2010 - Utilitas 22 (3):309-330.
    The paper considers a hierarchical theory that combines concern for two values: individual well-being – as a fundamental, first-order value – and (distributive) fairness – as a high-order value that its exclusive function is to complete the value of individual well-being by resolving internal clashes within it that occur in interpersonal conflicts. The argument for this unique conception of high-order fairness is that fairness is morally significant in itself only regarding what matters – individual well-being – and when it matters (...)
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  41. Headaches, Lives and Value.Dale Dorsey - 2009 - Utilitas 21 (1):36.
    University of Alberta Forthcoming in Utilias Consider Lives for Headaches: there is some number of headaches such that the relief of those headaches is sufficient to outweigh the good life of an innocent person. Lives for Headaches is unintuitive, but difficult to deny. The argument leading to Lives for Headaches is valid, and appears to be constructed out of firmly entrenched premises. In this paper, I advocate one way to reject Lives for Headaches; I defend a form of lexical superiority (...)
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  42. Two Dogmas of Deontology: Aggregation, Rights, and the Separateness of Persons: Alastair Norcross.Alastair Norcross - 2009 - Social Philosophy and Policy 26 (1):76-95.
    One of the currently popular dogmata of anti-consequentialism is that consequentialism doesn't respect, recognize, or in some important way account for what is referred to as the The charge is often made, but rarely explained in any detail, much less argued for. In this paper I explain what I take to be the most plausible interpretation of the separateness of persons charge. I argue that the charge itself can be deconstructed into at least two further objections to consequentialist theories. These (...)
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  43. What is It Like to Be a Group?David Sosa - 2009 - Social Philosophy and Policy 26 (1):212-226.
    Consequentialist and Kantian theories differ over the ethical relevance of consequences of actions. I investigate how they might differ too over the relevance of what actions are consequence of. Focusing on the case of group action and collective responsibility, I argue that there's a kind of analog to the problem of aggregating the value of consequencesthat Kantian theories will not confront and consequentialist theories will. The issue provides a useful way to characterize a deep difference between Kantian and consequentialist theories (...)
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  44. Aggregation Within Lives: Larry S. Temkin.Larry S. Temkin - 2009 - Social Philosophy and Policy 26 (1):1-29.
    Many philosophers have discussed problems of additive aggregation across lives. In this article, I suggest that anti-additive aggregationist principles sometimes apply within lives, as well as between lives, and hence that we should reject a widely accepted conception of individual self-interest. The article has eight sections. Section I is introductory. Section II offers a general account of aggregation. Section III presents two examples of problems of additive aggregation across lives: Derek Parfit's Repugnant Conclusion, and my Lollipops for Life Case Section (...)
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  45. What? More Better?Felix Larsson - 2006 - In Björn Haglund & Helge Malmgren (eds.), Kvantifikator för en Dag. Essays dedicated to Dag Westerståhl on his sixtieth birthday. Philosophical Communications.
    Utilitarianism tells us to maximize the total amount of well-being in the world. I discuss whether there is a total amount of well-being in the world, given hedonist and preferentialist notions of well-being, respectively. My conclusion is that the prospects for preferentialism, in particular, are quite bleak.
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  46. Utilitarianism and the Headache That Just Won't Go Away: Reply to Cain.Dale E. Miller - 2006 - Southwest Philosophy Review 22 (2):147-149.
  47. Aggregation, Rights, and the Separateness of Persons.Alastair Norcross - 2006 - Southwest Philosophy Review 22 (1):1-15.
  48. On the Repugnance of the Repugnant Conclusion.Thomas Søbirk Petersen - 2006 - Theoria 72 (2):126-137.
    The aim of this paper is to discuss the plausibility of a certain position in the philosophical literature within which the Repugnant Conclusion is treated, not as repugnant, but as an acceptable implication of the total welfare principle. I will confine myself to focus primarily on Törbjörn Tännsjö’s presentation. First, I reconstruct Tännsjö’s view concerning the repugnance of the RC in two arguments. The first argument is criticized for (a) addressing the wrong comparison, (b) relying on the controversial claim that (...)
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  49. Aggregation and Two Moral Methods.F. M. Kamm - 2005 - Utilitas 17 (1):1-23.
    I begin by reconsidering the arguments of John Taurek and Elizabeth Anscombe on whether the number of people we can help counts morally. I then consider arguments that numbers should count given by F. M. Kamm and Thomas Scanlon, and criticism of them by Michael Otsuka. I examine how different conceptions of the moral method known as pairwise comparison are at work in these different arguments and what the ideas of balancing and tie-breaking signify for decision-making in various types of (...)
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  50. A "New" Principle of Aggregation.Larry S. Temkin - 2005 - Philosophical Issues 15 (1):218–234.
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