Reply to Spears’s ‘The Asymmetry of Population Ethics’

Economics and Philosophy 39 (3):507-513 (2023)
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Abstract

Is the procreation asymmetry intuitively supported? According to a recent article in this journal, an experimental study suggests the opposite. Dean Spears (2020) claims that nearly three-quarters of participants report that there is a reason to create a person just because that person’s life would be happy. In reply, I argue that various confounding factors render the study internally invalid. More generally, I show how one might come to adopt the procreation asymmetry for the wrong reasons by misinterpreting one’s intuitions.

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References found in this work

Why We Should Reject S.Derek Parfit - 1984 - In Reasons and Persons. Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press.
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The additive fallacy.Shelly Kagan - 1988 - Ethics 99 (1):5-31.
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Normative strength and the balance of reasons.Joshua Gert - 2007 - Philosophical Review 116 (4):533-562.

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