Mere Addition and the Separateness of Persons

Journal of Philosophy 112 (8):442-455 (2015)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

How can we resist the repugnant conclusion? James Griffin has plausibly suggested that part way through the sequence we may reach a world—let us call it “J”—in which the lives are lexically superior to those that follow. If it would be preferable to live a single life in J than through any number of lives in the next one, then it would be strange to judge K the better world. Instead, we may reasonably “suspend addition” and judge J superior, as if aggregating the lives in the larger world intrapersonally. I argue that the addition of new people with separate preferences renders this inference illicit when comparing J+ and K. When one pairwise comparison suspends addition and the other does not, the result is an intransitive value judgement: J < J+ < K < J, producing the mere addition paradox

Links

PhilArchive

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Analytics

Added to PP
2015-02-25

Downloads
673 (#26,135)

6 months
109 (#42,378)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Matthew Rendall
University of Nottingham

Citations of this work

Resources and the acceptability of the Repugnant Conclusion.Stephen J. Schmidt - forthcoming - Theoria. An International Journal for Theory, History and Foundations of Science.

Add more citations

References found in this work

Overpopulation and the Quality of Life.Derek Parfit - 1986 - In Peter Singer (ed.), Applied Ethics. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 145-164.
In defence of repugnance.Michael Huemer - 2008 - Mind 117 (468):899-933.
Value and population size.Thomas Hurka - 1982 - Ethics 93 (3):496-507.
Overpopulation and the quality of life.Derek Parfit - 2004 - In J. Ryberg & T. Tännsjö (eds.), The Repugnant Conclusion. Kluwer Academic Publishers. pp. 7-22.
Abortion and the golden rule.R. M. Hare - 1975 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 4 (3):201-222.

View all 15 references / Add more references