How to accept the transitivity of better than

Philosophical Studies 173 (5):1309-1334 (2016)
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Abstract

Although the thesis that the moral better than relation is transitive seems obviously true, there is a growing literature according to which Parfit’s repugnant conclusion and related puzzles reveal that this thesis is false or problematic. This paper begins by presenting several such puzzles and explaining how they can be used in arguments for the intransitivity of better than. It then proposes and defends a plausible alternative picture of the behavior of better than that both resolves the repugnant conclusion and preserves transitivity. On the threshold-based model of lexicality defended here, hedonic episodes whose intensity is above a certain point are lexically greater than those whose intensity is below it. The final sections argue that this model is independently plausible and can be defended from several important objections

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Justin Klocksiem
New Mexico State University

Citations of this work

Totalism without Repugnance.Jacob M. Nebel - 2022 - In Jeff McMahan, Timothy Campbell, Ketan Ramakrishnan & Jimmy Goodrich (eds.), Ethics and Existence: The Legacy of Derek Parfit. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. pp. 200-231.
Sources of transitivity.Daniel Muñoz - 2023 - Economics and Philosophy 39 (2):285-306.
Non-Archimedean population axiologies.Calvin Baker - forthcoming - Economics and Philosophy.

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References found in this work

Reasons and Persons.Derek Parfit - 1984 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press.
Weighing lives.John Broome - 2004 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Well-being: its meaning, measurement, and moral importance.James Griffin - 1986 - Oxford [Oxfordshire]: Clarendon Press.
Overpopulation and the Quality of Life.Derek Parfit - 2013 - In Muresan Valentin & Majima Shunzo (eds.), Applied Ethics: Perspectives from Romania. Center for Applied Ethics and Philosophy, Hokkaido University. pp. 145-164.

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