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  1. Punishment, Proportionality, and Aggregation.Kimberly Kessler Ferzan - 2021 - Criminal Law and Philosophy 15 (3):481-494.
    Criminal theorists struggle to account for the “totality principle”—the idea that no matter how many small crimes you commit, your punishment should not exceed that for a more serious offense. Andrew Ashworth, for instance, argues that “overall proportionality” should be preserved but that this is a “pragmatic” solution. This paper argues that a retributivist can accept overall proportionality without abandoning her retributivism. I offer two lines of defense. The first is to show that the unit that we are aggregating may (...)
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  • Responses to My Critics.Daniel M. Hausman, Herbert A. Simon & Hilldale - 2017 - Public Health Ethics 10 (2):164-175.
    This essay responds to the helpful criticisms of Valuing Health: Well-Being, Freedom, and Suffering, which have been offered by Elselijn Kingma, Adam Oliver, Anna Alexandrova, Alex Voorhoeve, Erik Nord and James Wilson. I am extremely grateful to Jonathan Wolf and especially James Wilson for arranging a one-day conference on my book, Valuing Health: Well-Being, Freedom, and Suffering [Hausman, D.. Valuing Health: Well-Being, Freedom, and Suffering. Oxford: Oxford University Press.], and for publishing this symposium. I am also grateful to the wonderful (...)
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  • A Rights-Based Perspective on Permissible Harm.Susanne Burri - unknown
    This thesis takes up a rights-based perspective to discuss a number of issues related to the problem of permissible harm. It appeals to a person’s capacity to shape her life in accordance with her own ideas of the good to explain why her death can be bad for her, and why each of us should have primary say over what may be done to her. The thesis begins with an investigation of the badness of death for the person who dies. (...)
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  • On the Possibility of Limited Weighing of Lives.Daniel Ramöller - 2020 - Dissertation, Stockholm University
    This thesis discusses the possibility of limited moral trade-offs between different people’s welfare. In chapter 2, I introduce the two central limited trade-off conditions. First, according to minimal infinite superiority, significantly benefiting one person matters more than slightly benefiting each of any number of better-off people. Second, according to minimal finite superiority, significantly benefiting many people matters more than slightly benefiting one person. I consider both axiological and deontic interpretations of these conditions. However, I explain why none of the simple (...)
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  • The Haecceitic Euthyphro Problem.Jason Bowers & Meg Wallace - 2018 - Analysis 78 (1):13-22.
    Haecceitism is the thesis that, necessarily, in addition to its qualities, each thing has a haecceity or individual essence. The purpose of this paper is to expose a flaw in haecceitism: it entails that familiar cases of fission and fusion either admit of no explanation or else only admit of explanations too bizarre to warrant serious consideration. Because the explanatory problem we raise for haecceitism closely resembles the Euthyphro problem for divine command theory, we refer to our objection as the (...)
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  • Decide As You Would With Full Information! An Argument Against Ex Ante Pareto.Marc Fleurbaey & Alex Voorhoeve - 2013 - In Ole Norheim, Samia Hurst, Nir Eyal & Dan Wikler (eds.), Inequalities in Health: Concepts, Measures, and Ethics. Oxford University Press.
    Policy-makers must sometimes choose between an alternative which has somewhat lower expected value for each person, but which will substantially improve the outcomes of the worst off, or an alternative which has somewhat higher expected value for each person, but which will leave those who end up worst off substantially less well off. The popular ex ante Pareto principle requires the choice of the alternative with higher expected utility for each. We argue that ex ante Pareto ought to be rejected (...)
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  • 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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  • 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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  • Tolerance and the Distributed Sorites.Zach Barnett - 2019 - Synthese 196 (3):1071-1077.
    On some accounts of vagueness, predicates like “is a heap” are tolerant. That is, their correct application tolerates sufficiently small changes in the objects to which they are applied. Of course, such views face the sorites paradox, and various solutions have been proposed. One proposed solution involves banning repeated appeals to tolerance, while affirming tolerance in any individual case. In effect, this solution rejects the reasoning of the sorites argument. This paper discusses a thorny problem afflicting this approach to vagueness. (...)
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  • 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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  • The Implementation of Ethical Decision Procedures in Autonomous Systems : The Case of the Autonomous Vehicle.Katherine Evans - 2021 - Dissertation, Sorbonne Université
    The ethics of emerging forms of artificial intelligence has become a prolific subject in both academic and public spheres. A great deal of these concerns flow from the need to ensure that these technologies do not cause harm—physical, emotional or otherwise—to the human agents with which they will interact. In the literature, this challenge has been met with the creation of artificial moral agents: embodied or virtual forms of artificial intelligence whose decision procedures are constrained by explicit normative principles, requiring (...)
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  • The Aggregation Problem for Scanlonian Contractualism: An Exploration of the Relevance View, Mixed Solutions, and Why Scanlonian Contractualists Could Be, and Perhaps Should Be, Restricted Prioritarians.Aart Van Gils - 2019 - Dissertation, University of Reading
    In this thesis, I discuss the aggregation problem for T. M. Scanlon’s “contractualism”. I argue that Scanlonian contractualists have the following two options when it comes to the aggregation problem. First, they can choose to limit aggregation directly via a specific version of the Relevance View, “Sequential Claims-Matching”. Second, Scanlonian contractualists can adopt a so-called “mixed solution” of which I propose a specific version. My mixed solution does not limit aggregation. Rather, it either avoids some of the counterintuitive results in (...)
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  • Who Should Bear the Risk When Self-Driving Vehicles Crash?Antti Kauppinen - 2021 - Journal of Applied Philosophy 38 (4):630-645.
    The moral importance of liability to harm has so far been ignored in the lively debate about what self-driving vehicles should be programmed to do when an accident is inevitable. But liability matters a great deal to just distribution of risk of harm. While morality sometimes requires simply minimizing relevant harms, this is not so when one party is liable to harm in virtue of voluntarily engaging in activity that foreseeably creates a risky situation, while having reasonable alternatives. On plausible (...)
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  • Duty and Doubt.Seth Lazar - 2020 - Journal of Practical Ethics 8 (1):28-55.
    Deontologists have been slow to address decision-making under risk and uncertainty, no doubt because the standard approaches to non-moral decision theory appear superficially similar to consequentialist moral reasoning. I identify some central tenets of simple decision theory and show that they should not put deontologists off, before showing where we should go next to develop a comprehensive deontological decision theory.
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  • Risking Civilian Lives to Avoid Harm to Cultural Heritage?William Bülow - 2020 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 18 (3).
    This paper investigates the circumstances under which it is morally permissible to impose non-negligible risks of serious harm on innocent civilians in order not to endanger tangible cultural heritage during armed conflict. Building on a previous account of the value of cultural heritage, it is argued that tangible cultural heritage is valuable because of how it contributes to valuable and meaningful human lives. Taking this account as the point of departure I examine the claim that commanders should be prepared to (...)
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  • Justice, Claims and Prioritarianism: Room for Desert?Matthew D. Adler - 2016
    Does individual desert matter for distributive justice? Is it relevant, for purposes of justice, that the pattern of distribution of justice’s “currency” (be it well-being, resources, preference-satisfaction, capabilities, or something else) is aligned in one or another way with the pattern of individual desert? -/- This paper examines the nexus between desert and distributive justice through the lens of individual claims. The concept of claims (specifically “claims across outcomes”) is a fruitful way to flesh out the content of distributive justice (...)
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  • Costa, Cancer and Coronavirus: Contractualism as a Guide to the Ethics of Lockdown.Stephen David John & Emma J. Curran - forthcoming - Journal of Medical Ethics:medethics-2020-107103.
    Lockdown measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic involve placing huge burdens on some members of society for the sake of benefiting other members of society. How should we decide when these policies are permissible? Many writers propose we should address this question using cost-benefit analysis, a broadly consequentialist approach. We argue for an alternative non-consequentialist approach, grounded in contractualist moral theorising. The first section sets up key issues in the ethics of lockdown, and sketches the apparent appeal of addressing (...)
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  • How (Not) to Make Trade-Offs Between Health and Other Goods.Antti Kauppinen - forthcoming - Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics.
    In the context of a global pandemic, there is good health-based reason for governments to impose various social distancing measures. However, such measures also cause economic and other harms to people at low risk from the virus. In this paper, I examine how to make such trade-offs in a way that is respectfully justifiable to their losers. I argue that existing proposals like using standard QALY (quality-adjusted life-year) valuations or WELLBYs (wellbeing-adjusted life-years) as the currency for trade-offs do not allow (...)
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  • 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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  • Autonomous Driving and Perverse Incentives.Wulf Loh & Catrin Misselhorn - 2019 - Philosophy and Technology 32 (4):575-590.
    This paper discusses the ethical implications of perverse incentives with regard to autonomous driving. We define perverse incentives as a feature of an action, technology, or social policy that invites behavior which negates the primary goal of the actors initiating the action, introducing a certain technology, or implementing a social policy. As a special form of means-end-irrationality, perverse incentives are to be avoided from a prudential standpoint, as they prove to be directly self-defeating: They are not just a form of (...)
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  • Ethical Decision Making in Autonomous Vehicles: The AV Ethics Project.Katherine Evans, Nelson de Moura, Stéphane Chauvier, Raja Chatila & Ebru Dogan - 2020 - Science and Engineering Ethics 26 (6):3285-3312.
    The ethics of autonomous vehicles has received a great amount of attention in recent years, specifically in regard to their decisional policies in accident situations in which human harm is a likely consequence. Starting from the assumption that human harm is unavoidable, many authors have developed differing accounts of what morality requires in these situations. In this article, a strategy for AV decision-making is proposed, the Ethical Valence Theory, which paints AV decision-making as a type of claim mitigation: different road (...)
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  • How to Allocate Scarce Health Resources Without Discriminating Against People with Disabilities.Tyler M. John, Joseph Millum & David Wasserman - 2017 - Economics and Philosophy 33 (2):161-186.
    One widely used method for allocating health care resources involves the use of cost-effectiveness analysis (CEA) to rank treatments in terms of quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs) gained. CEA has been criticized for discriminating against people with disabilities by valuing their lives less than those of non-disabled people. Avoiding discrimination seems to lead to the ’QALY trap’: we cannot value saving lives equally and still value raising quality of life. This paper reviews existing responses to the QALY trap and argues that all (...)
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  • Affirmative Action: Well‐Being, Justice, and Qualifications.Re’em Segev - 2019 - Ratio Juris 32 (2):138-156.
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  • If You’Re a Rawlsian, How Come You’Re So Close to Utilitarianism and Intuitionism? A Critique of Daniels’s Accountability for Reasonableness.Gabriele Badano - 2018 - Health Care Analysis 26 (1):1-16.
    Norman Daniels’s theory of ‘accountability for reasonableness’ is an influential conception of fairness in healthcare resource allocation. Although it is widely thought that this theory provides a consistent extension of John Rawls’s general conception of justice, this paper shows that accountability for reasonableness has important points of contact with both utilitarianism and intuitionism, the main targets of Rawls’s argument. My aim is to demonstrate that its overlap with utilitarianism and intuitionism leaves accountability for reasonableness open to damaging critiques. The important (...)
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  • 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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  • 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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  • Still Lives for Headaches: A Reply to Dorsey and Voorhoeve.Julius Schönherr - 2018 - Utilitas 30 (2):209-218.
    There is no large number of very small bads that is worse than a small number of very large bads – or so, some maintain, it seems plausible to say. In this article, I criticize and reject two recently proposed vindications of the above intuition put forth by Dale Dorsey and Alex Voorhoeve. Dorsey advocates for a threshold marked by the interference with a person's global life projects: any bad that interferes with the satisfaction of a life project is worse (...)
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  • Headaches for Epistemologists.Brian Talbot - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, EarlyView.
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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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  • 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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  • The Relevance View: Defended and Extended.Kirsten Mann - 2021 - Utilitas 33 (1):101-110.
    The Relevance View, exemplified by Alex Voorhoeve's Aggregate Relevant Claims, has considerable appeal. It accommodates our reluctance to aggregate weak claims in canonical cases like Life for Headaches, while permitting aggregation of claims in a range of other cases. But it has been the target of significant criticism. In an important recent paper, Patrick Tomlin argues that the view suffers from failures of internal logic, violating plausible consistency constraints and generating incoherent combinations of verdicts on cases. And in cases resembling (...)
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  • Doing Good Badly? Philosophical Issues Related to Effective Altruism.Michael Plant - 2019 - Dissertation, Oxford University
    Suppose you want to do as much good as possible. What should you do? According to members of the effective altruism movement—which has produced much of the thinking on this issue and counts several moral philosophers as its key protagonists—we should prioritise among the world’s problems by assessing their scale, solvability, and neglectedness. Once we’ve done this, the three top priorities, not necessarily in this order, are (1) aiding the world’s poorest people by providing life-saving medical treatments or alleviating poverty (...)
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  • Aggregation with Constraints.Korbinian Rüger - 2020 - Utilitas 32 (4):454-471.
    Utilitarianism is often criticized because of its reliance on the interpersonal aggregation of harms and benefits. However, since the rejection of all forms of interpersonal aggregation strikes most people as implausible, some critics of utilitarianism have proposed theories of Limited Aggregation. These occupy the middle ground between fully aggregative and non-aggregative views. Recently, Limited Aggregation has been criticized for having counterintuitive implications that seem even worse than the counterintuitive implications of fully aggregative and non-aggregative views it tried to escape. I (...)
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  • Is Consistency Overrated?S. Andrew Schroeder - 2018 - Journal of Medical Ethics 44 (3):199-200.
    In their insightful article, ‘The Disvalue of Death in the Global Burden of Disease’, Solberg et al argue that there is a potential incoherence in the way disability-adjusted life years are calculated. Morbidity is measured in years lived with disability in a way quite unlike the way mortality is measured in years of life lost. This potentially renders them incommensurable, like apples and oranges, and makes their aggregate—DALYs—conceptually unsound. The authors say that it is ‘vital’ to address this problem, that (...)
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  • Fair Subject Selection in Clinical Research: Formal Equality of Opportunity.Douglas MacKay - 2016 - Journal of Medical Ethics 42 (10):672-677.
    In this paper, I explore the ethics of subject selection in the context of biomedical research. I reject a key principle of what I shall refer to as the standard view. According to this principle, investigators should select participants so as to minimise aggregate risk to participants and maximise aggregate benefits to participants and society. On this view, investigators should exclude prospective participants who are more susceptible to risk than other prospective participants. I argue instead that investigators should select subjects (...)
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  • 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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  • 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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  • Spectrum Arguments, Parity and Persistency.Anders Herlitz - 2020 - Theoria 86 (4):463-481.
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  • Animal Rights and the Duty to Harm: When to Be a Harm Causing Deontologist.C. E. Abbate - 2020 - Zeitschrift Für Ethik Und Moralphilosophie 3 (1):5-26.
    An adequate theory of rights ought to forbid the harming of animals to promote trivial interests of humans, as is often done in the animal-user industries. But what should the rights view say about situations in which harming some animals is necessary to prevent intolerable injustices to other animals? I develop an account of respectful treatment on which, under certain conditions, it’s justified to intentionally harm some individuals to prevent serious harm to others. This can be compatible with recognizing the (...)
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  • 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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  • Restricted Prioritarianism or Competing Claims?Benjamin Lange - 2017 - Utilitas 29 (2):137-152.
    I here settle a recent dispute between two rival theories in distributive ethics: Restricted Prioritarianism and the Competing Claims View. Both views mandate that the distribution of benefits and burdens between individuals should be justifiable to each affected party in a way that depends on the strength of each individual’s separately assessed claim to receive a benefit. However, they disagree about what elements constitute the strength of those individuals’ claims. According to restricted prioritarianism, the strength of a claim is determined (...)
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  • Vaulting Intuition: Temkin's Critique of Transitivity.Alex Voorhoeve - 2013 - Economics and Philosophy 29 (3):409-425.
    In 'Rethinking the Good', Larry Temkin makes two core claims. First, the goodness of a distribution is sometimes ‘essentially comparative’ – it sometimes depends on which alternative distribution(s) it is compared to. Second, such cases threaten the transitivity of ‘all things considered better than’. I argue that the goodness of a distribution may indeed depend on what other distributions are feasible. But contrary to Temkin, I also argue that transitivity holds even when the goodness of a distribution depends on the (...)
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  • Contractualism.Elizabeth Ashford - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  • 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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  • Principles of Need and the Aggregation Thesis.Erik Gustavsson & Niklas Juth - 2019 - Health Care Analysis 27 (2):77-92.
    Principles of need are constantly referred to in health care priority setting. The common denominator for any principle of need is that it will ascribe some kind of special normative weight to people being worse off. However, this common ground does not answer the question how a plausible principle of need should relate to the aggregation of benefits across individuals. Principles of need are sometimes stated as being incompatible with aggregation and sometimes characterized as accepting aggregation in much the same (...)
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  • Aggregate Relevant Claims in Rescue Cases?Johanna Privitera - 2018 - Utilitas 30 (2):228-236.
    In 'How Should We Aggregate Competing Claims', Alex Voorhoeve suggests accommodating intuitions about duties in rescue cases by combining aggregative and non-aggregative elements into one theory. In this paper, I discuss two problems Voorhoeve’s theory faces as a result of requiring a cyclic pattern of choice, and argue that his attempt to solve them does not succeed.
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  • Disease Prevalence and the Magnitude of Research Benefits.Leah Pierson & Joseph Millum - 2018 - American Journal of Bioethics 18 (4):73-74.
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  • 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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  • Prioritarianism: Room for Desert?Matthew D. Adler - 2018 - Utilitas 30 (2):172-197.