A Solution to the Purported Non-Transitivity of Normative Evaluation

Journal of Philosophy 112 (1):23-45 (2015)
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Abstract

Derek Parfit presents his Mere Addition Paradox in order to demonstrate that it is extremely difficult to avoid the Repugnant Conclusion. And in order to avoid it, Parfit has embraced perfectionism. However, Stuart Rachels and Larry Temkin, taking their lead from Parfit, have concluded, instead, that the Repugnant Conclusion can be avoided by denying the axiom of transitivity with respect to the all-things-considered-better-than relation. But this seems to present a major challenge to how we evaluate normatively. In this article I show how the Mere Addition Paradox and the Repugnant Conclusion can both be avoided without subscribing to perfectionism, and without sacrificing the axiom of transitivity.

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