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  1. Aggregation in an infinite, relativistic universe.Hayden Wilkinson - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-29.
    Aggregative moral theories face a series of devastating problems when we apply them in a physically realistic setting. According to current physics, our universe is likely _infinitely large_, and will contain infinitely many morally valuable events. But standard aggregative theories are ill-equipped to compare outcomes containing infinite total value so, applied in a realistic setting, they cannot compare any outcomes a real-world agent must ever choose between. This problem has been discussed extensively, and non-standard aggregative theories proposed to overcome it. (...)
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  • The Many, the Few, and the Nature of Value.Daniel Muñoz - 2022 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 9 (4):70-87.
    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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  • Degrees of commensurability and the repugnant conclusion.Alan Hájek & Wlodek Rabinowicz - 2022 - Noûs 56 (4):897-919.
    Two objects of valuation are said to be incommensurable if neither is better than the other, nor are they equally good. This negative, coarse-grained characterization fails to capture the nuanced structure of incommensurability. We argue that our evaluative resources are far richer than orthodoxy recognizes. We model value comparisons with the corresponding class of permissible preference orderings. Then, making use of our model, we introduce a potentially infinite set of degrees of approximation to better, worse, and equally good, which we (...)
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  • Infinite aggregation and risk.Hayden Wilkinson - forthcoming - Australasian Journal of Philosophy:1-20.
    For aggregative theories of moral value, it is a challenge to rank worlds that each contain infinitely many valuable events. And, although there are several existing proposals for doing so, few provide a cardinal measure of each world's value. This raises the even greater challenge of ranking lotteries over such worlds—without a cardinal value for each world, we cannot apply expected value theory. How then can we compare such lotteries? To date, we have just one method for doing so (proposed (...)
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  • 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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  • A fixed-population problem for the person-affecting restriction.Jacob M. Nebel - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (9):2779-2787.
    According to the person-affecting restriction, one distribution of welfare can be better than another only if there is someone for whom it is better. Extant problems for the person-affecting restriction involve variable-population cases, such as the nonidentity problem, which are notoriously controversial and difficult to resolve. This paper develops a fixed-population problem for the person-affecting restriction. The problem reveals that, in the presence of incommensurable welfare levels, the person-affecting restriction is incompatible with minimal requirements of impartial beneficence even in fixed-population (...)
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  • An Intrapersonal Addition Paradox.Jacob M. Nebel - 2019 - Ethics 129 (2):309-343.
    I present a new argument for the repugnant conclusion. The core of the argument is a risky, intrapersonal analogue of the mere addition paradox. The argument is important for three reasons. First, some solutions to Parfit’s original puzzle do not obviously generalize to the intrapersonal puzzle in a plausible way. Second, it raises independently important questions about how to make decisions under uncertainty for the sake of people whose existence might depend on what we do. And, third, it suggests various (...)
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  • Asymmetries in the Value of Existence.Jacob M. Nebel - 2019 - Philosophical Perspectives 33 (1):126-145.
    According to asymmetric comparativism, it is worse for a person to exist with a miserable life than not to exist, but it is not better for a person to exist with a happy life than not to exist. My aim in this paper is to explain how asymmetric comparativism could possibly be true. My account of asymmetric comparativism begins with a different asymmetry, regarding the (dis)value of early death. I offer an account of this early death asymmetry, appealing to the (...)
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  • Infinite options, intransitive value, and supererogation.Daniel Muñoz - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 178 (6):2063-2075.
    Supererogatory acts are those that lie “beyond the call of duty.” There are two standard ways to define this idea more precisely. Although the definitions are often seen as equivalent, I argue that they can diverge when options are infinite, or when there are cycles of better options; moreover, each definition is acceptable in only one case. I consider two ways out of this dilemma.
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  • Sources of Transitivity.Daniel Muñoz - forthcoming - Economics and Philosophy:1-22.
    Why should be ‘better than’ be transitive? The leading answer in ethics is that values do not change with context. But this cannot be the entire source of transitivity, I argue, since transitivity can fail even if values never change, so long as they are complex, with multiple dimensions combined non-additively. I conclude by exploring a new hypothesis: that all alleged cases of nontransitive betterness, such as Parfit’s Repugnant Conclusion, can and should be modeled as the result of complexity, not (...)
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  • Many-valued logic and sequence arguments in value theory.Simon Knutsson - 2021 - Synthese 199 (3-4):10793-10825.
    Some find it plausible that a sufficiently long duration of torture is worse than any duration of mild headaches. Similarly, it has been claimed that a million humans living great lives is better than any number of worm-like creatures feeling a few seconds of pleasure each. Some have related bad things to good things along the same lines. For example, one may hold that a future in which a sufficient number of beings experience a lifetime of torture is bad, regardless (...)
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  • Partial aggregation in ethics.Joe Horton - 2021 - Philosophy Compass 16 (3):1-12.
    Is there any number of people you should save from paralysis rather than saving one person from death? Is there any number of people you should save from a migraine rather than saving one person from death? Many people answer ‘yes’ and ‘no’, respectively. The aim of partially aggregative moral views is to capture and justify combinations of intuitions like these. These views contrast with fully aggregative moral views, which imply that the answer to both questions is ‘yes’, and with (...)
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  • Spectrum Arguments, Parity and Persistency.Anders Herlitz - 2020 - Theoria 86 (4):463-481.
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  • Non-transitive Better than Relations and Rational Choice.Anders Herlitz - 2020 - Philosophia 48 (1):179-189.
    This paper argues that decision problems and money-pump arguments should not be a deciding factor against accepting non-transitive better than relations. If the reasons to accept normative standpoints that entail a non-transitive better than relation are compelling enough, we ought to revise our decision method rather than the normative standpoints. The paper introduces the most common argument in favor of non-transitive better than relations. It then illustrates that there are different ways to reconceptualize rational choice so that rational choice is (...)
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  • Consequentialism and Collective Action.Brian Hedden - 2020 - Ethics 130 (4):530-554.
    Many consequentialists argue that you ought to do your part in collective action problems like climate change mitigation and ending factory farming because (i) all such problems are triggering cases, in which there is a threshold number of people such that the outcome will be worse if at least that many people act in a given way than if fewer do, and (ii) doing your part in a triggering case maximises expected value. I show that both (i) and (ii) are (...)
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  • Intransitivity, Essential Comparativeness, and Objective Value.Alan H. Goldman - 2020 - Metaphilosophy 51 (1):14-31.
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  • 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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  • The Case for Comparability.Cian Dorr, Jacob M. Nebel & Jake Zuehl - forthcoming - Noûs.
    We argue that all gradable expressions in natural language obey a principle that we call Comparability: if x and y are both F to some degree, then either x is at least as F as y or y is at least as F as x. This principle has been widely rejected among philosophers, especially by ethicists, and its falsity has been claimed to have important normative implications. We argue that Comparability is needed to explain the goodness of several patterns of (...)
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  • Consequences of Comparability.Cian Dorr, Jacob M. Nebel & Jake Zuehl - 2021 - Philosophical Perspectives 35 (1):70-98.
    We defend three controversial claims about preference, credence, and choice. First, all agents (not just rational ones) have complete preferences. Second, all agents (again, not just rational ones) have real-valued credences in every proposition in which they are confident to any degree. Third, there is almost always some unique thing we ought to do, want, or believe.
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  • Rational Intransitive Preferences.Peter Baumann - 2022 - Politics, Philosophy and Economics 21 (1):3-28.
    According to a widely held view, rationality demands that the preferences of a person be transitive. The transitivity assumption is an axiom in standard theories of rational choice. It is also prima facie very plausible. I argue here that transitivity is not a necessary condition of rationality; it is a constraint only in some cases. The argument presented here is based on the non-linearity of differential utility functions. This paper has four parts. First, I present an argument against the transitivity (...)
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  • The Sorites Paradox in Practical Philosophy.Hrafn Asgeirsson - 2019 - In Sergi Oms & Elia Zardini (eds.), The Sorites Paradox. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. pp. 229–245.
    The first part of the chapter surveys some of the main ways in which the Sorites Paradox has figured in arguments in practical philosophy in recent decades, with special attention to arguments where the paradox is used as a basis for criticism. Not coincidentally, the relevant arguments all involve the transitivity of value in some way. The second part of the chapter is more probative, focusing on two main themes. First, I further address the relationship between the Sorites Paradox and (...)
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  • 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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  • Sorites On What Matters.Theron Pummer - 2022 - In Jeff McMahan, Timothy Campbell, Ketan Ramakrishnan & Jimmy Goodrich (eds.), Ethics and Existence: The Legacy of Derek Parfit. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 498–523.
    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. This sorites analogy is (...)
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  • Ethics Without Numbers.Jacob M. Nebel - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
    This paper develops and explores a new framework for theorizing about the measurement and aggregation of well-being. It is a qualitative variation on the framework of social welfare functionals developed by Amartya Sen. In Sen’s framework, a social or overall betterness ordering is assigned to each profile of real-valued utility functions. In the qualitative framework developed here, numerical utilities are replaced by the properties they are supposed to represent. This makes it possible to characterize the measurability and interpersonal comparability of (...)
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  • Measuring freedom, and its value.Nicolas Cote - 2021 - Dissertation, London School of Economics
    This thesis concerns the measurement of freedom, and its value. Specifically, I am concerned with three overarching questions. First, can we measure the extent of an individual’s freedom? It had better be that we can, otherwise much ordinary and intuitive talk that we would like to vindicate – say, about free persons being freer than slaves – will turn out to be false or meaningless. Second, in what ways is freedom valuable, and how is this value measured? It matters, for (...)
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  • The procreation asymmetry : The existence-requirement strategy and some concerns on incompatibility.Jepser Söderstedt - unknown
    According to the procreation asymmetry there is no moral reason to create a new and foreseeably happy person just because this person will be happy, but there is however a moral reason against creating a new and foreseeably unhappy person just because this person will be unhappy. A common way to defend this conjunction of claims is by employing a so-called existence-requirement, according to which the happiness of a given person p in a world w depends on it being possible (...)
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