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Millian Superiorities

Utilitas 17 (2):127-146 (2005)

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  1. Imprecise Lexical Superiority and the (Slightly Less) Repugnant Conclusion.James Fanciullo - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (8):2103-2117.
    Recently, Derek Parfit has offered a novel solution to the “Repugnant Conclusion” that compared with the existence of many people whose quality of life would be very high, there is some much larger number of people whose existence would be better but whose lives would be barely worth living. On this solution, qualitative differences between two populations will often entail that the populations are merely “imprecisely” comparable. According to Parfit, this fact allows us to avoid the Repugnant Conclusion without violating (...)
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  • 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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  • Population Ethics and Different‐Number‐Based Imprecision.Gustaf Arrhenius - 2016 - Theoria 82 (2):166-181.
    Recently, in his Rolf Schock Prize Lecture, Derek Parfit has suggested a novel way of avoiding the Repugnant Conclusion by introducing what he calls “imprecision” in value comparisons. He suggests that in a range of important cases, populations of different sizes are only imprecisely comparable. Parfit suggests that this feature of value comparisons opens up a way of avoiding the Repugnant Conclusion without implying other counterintuitive conclusions, and thus solves one of the major challenges in ethics. In this article, I (...)
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  • Higher Values and Non-Archimedean Additivity.Erik Carlson - 2007 - Theoria 73 (1):3-27.
    Many philosophers have claimed that extensive or additive measurement is incompatible with the existence of "higher values", any amount of which is better than any amount of some other value. In this paper, it is shown that higher values can be incorporated in a non-standard model of extensive measurement, with values represented by sets of ordered pairs of real numbers, rather than by single reals. The suggested model is mathematically fairly simple, and it applies to structures including negative as well (...)
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  • Incommensurability and Vagueness in Spectrum Arguments: Options for Saving Transitivity of Betterness.Toby Handfield & Wlodek Rabinowicz - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (9):2373-2387.
    The spectrum argument purports to show that the better-than relation is not transitive, and consequently that orthodox value theory is built on dubious foundations. The argument works by constructing a sequence of increasingly less painful but more drawn-out experiences, such that each experience in the spectrum is worse than the previous one, yet the final experience is better than the experience with which the spectrum began. Hence the betterness relation admits cycles, threatening either transitivity or asymmetry of the relation. This (...)
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  • Millian Superiorities and the Repugnant Conclusion.Karsten Klint Jensen - 2008 - Utilitas 20 (3):279-300.
    James Griffin has considered a form of superiority in value that is weaker than lexical priority as a possible remedy to the Repugnant Conclusion. In this article, I demonstrate that, in a context where value is additive, this weaker form collapses into the stronger form of superiority. And in a context where value is non-additive, weak superiority does not amount to a radical value difference at all. These results are applied on one of Larry Temkin's cases against transitivity. I demonstrate (...)
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  • Parity and Comparability—a Concern Regarding Chang’s Chaining Argument.Henrik Andersson - 2015 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 19 (1):245-253.
    According to Ruth Chang the three standard positive value relations: “better than”, “worse than” and “equally good” do not fully exhaust the conceptual space for positive value relations. According to her, there is room for a fourth positive value relation, which she calls “parity”. Her argument for parity comes in three parts. First, she argues that there are items that are not related by the standard three value relations. Second, that these items are not incomparable, and third, that the phenomena (...)
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  • Weak Superiority, Imprecise Equality and the Repugnant Conclusion.Karsten Klint Jensen - 2020 - Utilitas 32 (3):294-315.
    Derek Parfit defends the Imprecise Lexical View as a way to avoid the Repugnant Conclusion. Allowing for ‘imprecise equality’, Parfit argues, makes it possible to avoid some well-known problems for the Lexical View. It is demonstrated that the Lexical View has stronger implications than envisaged by Parfit; moreover, his assumption of Non-diminishing Marginal Value makes the Lexical View collapse into a much stronger view, which lets the two appear incompatible. Introducing imprecise equality does not address the latter problem. But it (...)
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  • J. S. Mill's Conception of Utility.Ben Saunders - 2010 - Utilitas 22 (1):52-69.
    Mill's most famous departure from Bentham is his distinction between higher and lower pleasures. This article argues that quality and quantity are independent and irreducible properties of pleasures that may be traded off against each other higher pleasures’ lexically dominate lower ones, and that the distinction is compatible with hedonism. I show how this interpretation not only makes sense of Mill but allows him to respond to famous problems, such as Crisp's Haydn and the oyster and Nozick's experience machine.
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  • Millian Qualitative Superiorities and Utilitarianism, Part I*: Jonathan Riley.Jonathan Riley - 2008 - Utilitas 20 (3):257-278.
    Arrhenius and Rabinowicz have argued that Millian qualitative superiorities are possible without assuming that any pleasure, or type of pleasure, is infinitely superior to another. But AR's analysis is fatally flawed in the context of ethical hedonism, where the assumption in question is necessary and sufficient for Millian qualitative superiorities. Marginalist analysis of the sort pressed by AR continues to have a valid role to play within any plausible version of hedonism, provided the fundamental incoherence that infects AR's use of (...)
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