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  1. Totalism Without Repugnance.Jacob M. Nebel - 2022 - In Jeff McMahan, Tim Campbell, James Goodrich & Ketan Ramakrishnan (eds.), Ethics and Existence: The Legacy of Derek Parfit. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 200-231.
    Totalism is the view that one distribution of well-being is better than another just in case the one contains a greater sum of well-being than the other. Many philosophers, following Parfit, reject totalism on the grounds that it entails the repugnant conclusion: that, for any number of excellent lives, there is some number of lives that are barely worth living whose existence would be better. This paper develops a theory of welfare aggregation—the lexical-threshold view—that allows totalism to avoid the repugnant (...)
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  • Morality Under Risk.Chad Lee-Stronach - 2019 - Dissertation,
    Many argue that absolutist moral theories -- those that prohibit particular kinds of actions or trade-offs under all circumstances -- cannot adequately account for the permissibility of risky actions. In this dissertation, I defend various versions of absolutism against this critique, using overlooked resources from formal decision theory. Against the prevailing view, I argue that almost all absolutist moral theories can give systematic and plausible verdicts about what to do in risky cases. In doing so, I show that critics have (...)
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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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  • Uncertainty, Indeterminacy, and Agent-Centred Constraints.Douglas W. Portmore - 2017 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 95 (2):284-298.
    Common-sense morality includes various agent-centred constraints, including ones against killing unnecessarily and breaking a promise. However, it's not always clear whether, had an agent ϕ-ed, she would have violated a constraint. And sometimes the reason for this is not that we lack knowledge of the relevant facts, but that there is no fact about whether her ϕ-ing would have constituted a constraint-violation. What, then, is a constraint-accepting theory to say about whether it would have been permissible for her to have (...)
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  • Skeptical Theism and the Threshold Problem.Yishai A. Cohen - 2013 - Forum Philosophicum: International Journal for Philosophy 18 (1):73-92.
    In this paper I articulate and defend a new anti-theodicy challenge to Skeptical Theism. More specifically, I defend the Threshold Problem according to which there is a threshold to the kinds of evils that are in principle justifiable for God to permit, and certain instances of evil are beyond that threshold. I further argue that Skeptical Theism does not have the resources to adequately rebut the Threshold Problem. I argue for this claim by drawing a distinction between a weak and (...)
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  • Incommensurability in Population Ethics.Jacob Nebel - 2015 - Dissertation, University of Oxford
    Values are incommensurable when they cannot be measured on a single cardinal scale. Many philosophers suggest that incommensurability can help us solve the problems of population ethics. I agree. But some philosophers claim that populations bear incommensurable values merely because they contain different numbers of people, perhaps within some range. I argue that mere differences in how many people exist, even within some range, do not suffice for incommensurability. I argue that the intuitive neutrality of creating happy people is better (...)
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  • Moral Sequencing and Intervening to Prevent Harm.Benjamin David Costello - 2019 - Dissertation, University of Birmingham
    This thesis will utilise the literature on the distinction between doing harm and allowing harm to develop a novel system of moral sequencing that can be applied to general moral problems to decide if, when, and how an agent should intervene to prevent harm from occurring to another agent. Off the back of this discussion, this thesis will offer a way of determining the responsibility of certain agents for their actions within a moral sequence. These motivations will be at the (...)
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  • Human Dominion and Wild Animal Suffering.Dustin Crummett - forthcoming - Religious Studies:1-17.
    It may be possible, now or in the future, for humans to technologically intervene to reduce the amount of suffering experienced by wild animals. There is a debate about whether, if humans can do this, they should. Here, I consider the implications for this debate of the theological claim that humans have been granted dominion over the other animals. I argue that it's more plausible to interpret the dominion claim as granting humans the responsibility to care for the well-being of (...)
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  • Posthumous Repugnancy.Benjamin Kultgen - forthcoming - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy.
    I argue that the possibility of posthumous harm ought to be rejected. My argument centers on a kind of repugnancy case involving posthumous harm. Supposing the existence of posthumous harm, a person whose wellbeing was extremely high while she was alive could incur small posthumous harms over a long enough period such that it is true of that person that she had a life not worth living. I respond to various objections and in the end conclude that rejecting posthumous harm (...)
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  • In Dubious Battle: Uncertainty and the Ethics of Killing.Seth Lazar - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (4):859-883.
    How should deontologists concerned with the ethics of killing apply their moral theory when we don’t know all the facts relevant to the permissibility of our action? Though the stakes couldn’t be higher, and uncertainty is endemic where killing is concerned, few deontologists have an answer to this question. In this paper I canvass two possibilities: that we should apply a threshold standard, equivalent to the ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’ standard applied for criminal punishment; and that we should fit our (...)
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  • Moral Priorities Under Risk.Chad Lee-Stronach - 2018 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 48 (6):793-811.
    Many moral theories are committed to the idea that some kinds of moral considerations should be respected, whatever the cost to ‘lesser’ types of considerations. A person's life, for instance, should not be sacrificed for the trivial pleasures of others, no matter how many would benefit. However, according to the decision-theoretic critique of lexical priority theories, accepting lexical priorities inevitably leads us to make unacceptable decisions in risky situations. It seems that to operate in a risky world, we must reject (...)
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  • Opting for the Best: Oughts and Options.Douglas W. Portmore - 2019 - New York, NY, USA: Oxford University Press.
    The book concerns what I take to be the least controversial normative principle concerning action: you ought to perform your best option—best, that is, in terms of whatever ultimately matters. The book sets aside the question of what ultimately matters so as to focus on more basic issues, such as: What are our options? Do I have the option of typing out the cure for cancer if that’s what I would in fact do if I had the right intentions at (...)
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  • Morality, Uncertainty.Chad Lee-Stronach - 2021 - Philosophical Quarterly 71 (2):334-358.
    Non-Consequentialist moral theories posit the existence of moral constraints: prohibitions on performing particular kinds of wrongful acts, regardless of the good those acts could produce. Many believe that such theories cannot give satisfactory verdicts about what we morally ought to do when there is some probability that we will violate a moral constraint. In this article, I defend Non-Consequentialist theories from this critique. Using a general choice-theoretic framework, I identify various types of Non-Consequentialism that have otherwise been conflated in the (...)
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  • Headaches for Epistemologists.Brian Talbot - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, EarlyView.
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  • Skeptical Theism and the Threshold Problem.Yishai A. Cohen - 2013 - Forum Philosophicum: International Journal for Philosophy 18 (1):73-92.
    In this paper I articulate and defend a new anti-theodicy challenge to Skeptical Theism. More specifically, I defend the Threshold Problem according to which there is a threshold to the kinds of evils that are in principle justifiable for God to permit, and certain instances of evil are beyond that threshold. I further argue that Skeptical Theism does not have the resources to adequately rebut the Threshold Problem. I argue for this claim by drawing a distinction between a weak and (...)
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  • The Right to Move Versus the Right to Exclude: A Principled Defense of Open Borders.Michael Huemer - manuscript
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  • Rationality and Moral Risk: A Moderate Defense of Hedging.Christian Tarsney - 2017 - Dissertation, University of Maryland
    How should an agent decide what to do when she is uncertain not just about morally relevant empirical matters, like the consequences of some course of action, but about the basic principles of morality itself? This question has only recently been taken up in a systematic way by philosophers. Advocates of moral hedging claim that an agent should weigh the reasons put forward by each moral theory in which she has positive credence, considering both the likelihood that that theory is (...)
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  • Moral Uncertainty for Deontologists.Christian Tarsney - 2018 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 21 (3):505-520.
    Defenders of deontological constraints in normative ethics face a challenge: how should an agent decide what to do when she is uncertain whether some course of action would violate a constraint? The most common response to this challenge has been to defend a threshold principle on which it is subjectively permissible to act iff the agent's credence that her action would be constraint-violating is below some threshold t. But the threshold approach seems arbitrary and unmotivated: what would possibly determine where (...)
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  • Action, Deontology, and Risk: Against the Multiplicative Model.Sergio Tenenbaum - 2017 - Ethics 127 (3):674-707.
    Deontological theories face difficulties in accounting for situations involving risk; the most natural ways of extending deontological principles to such situations have unpalatable consequences. In extending ethical principles to decision under risk, theorists often assume the risk must be incorporated into the theory by means of a function from the product of probability assignments to certain values. Deontologists should reject this assumption; essentially different actions are available to the agent when she cannot know that a certain act is in her (...)
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  • Decisional Nonconsequentialism and the Risk Sensitivity of Obligation.Horacio Spector - 2016 - Social Philosophy and Policy 32 (2):91-128.
    :A good deal of contemporary moral nonconsequentialism assumes that agents have perfect knowledge about the various features and consequences of their options. This assumption is unrealistic. More often than not, moral agents can only assess with a certain degree of probability the factual circumstances that are morally relevant for their decision making. My aim in this essay is to discuss the problem of moral decisions under risk from the point of view of nonconsequentialism. Basically, I analyze how objective moral principles (...)
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