Utilitas 25 (4):433-445 (2013)

Johan E. Gustafsson
University of York
In this article, I argue that the small-improvement argument fails since some of the comparisons involved in the argument might be indeterminate. I defend this view from two objections by Ruth Chang, namely the argument from phenomenology and the argument from perplexity. There are some other objections to the small-improvement argument that also hinge on claims about indeterminacy. John Broome argues that alleged cases of value incomparability are merely examples of indeterminacy in the betterness relation. The main premise of his argument is the much-discussed collapsing principle. I offer a new counterexample to this principle and argue that Broome's defence of the principle is not cogent. On the other hand, Nicolas Espinoza argues that the small-improvement argument fails as a result of the mere possibility of evaluative indeterminacy. I argue that his objection is unsuccessful.
Keywords indeterminacy  the small-improvement argument  incomparability  the collapsing principle  parity  completeness
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DOI 10.1017/s0953820813000034
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References found in this work BETA

The Possibility of Parity.Ruth Chang - 2002 - Ethics 112 (4):659-688.
Value Incomparability and Indeterminacy.Cristian Constantinescu - 2012 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 15 (1):57-70.
I—I Ncommensurability and V Agueness.Wlodek Rabinowicz - 2009 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 83 (1):71-94.

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Citations of this work BETA

Consequences of Comparability.Cian Dorr, Jacob M. Nebel & Jake Zuehl - 2021 - Philosophical Perspectives 35 (1):70-98.
On Parity and the Intuition of Neutrality.Mozaffar Qizilbash - 2018 - Economics and Philosophy 34 (1):87-108.
Hard Cases of Comparison.Michael Messerli & Kevin Reuter - 2017 - Philosophical Studies 174 (9):2227-2250.
Value Taxonomy.Wlodek Rabinowicz & Toni Rønnow-Rasmussen - 2015 - In Tobias Brosch & David Sander (eds.), Handbook of Value. Oxford: Oxfocd University Press. pp. 23-42.

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