Philosophical Studies 178 (11):3671-3695 (2021)

Authors
Elliott Thornley
Oxford University
Abstract
Arrhenius’s impossibility theorems purport to demonstrate that no population axiology can satisfy each of a small number of intuitively compelling adequacy conditions. However, it has recently been pointed out that each theorem depends on a dubious assumption: Finite Fine-Grainedness. This assumption states that there exists a finite sequence of slight welfare differences between any two welfare levels. Denying Finite Fine-Grainedness makes room for a lexical population axiology which satisfies all of the compelling adequacy conditions in each theorem. Therefore, Arrhenius’s theorems fail to prove that there is no satisfactory population axiology. In this paper, I argue that Arrhenius’s theorems can be repurposed. Since all of our population-affecting actions have a non-zero probability of bringing about more than one distinct population, it is population prospect axiologies that are of practical relevance, and amended versions of Arrhenius’s theorems demonstrate that there is no satisfactory population prospect axiology. These impossibility theorems do not depend on Finite Fine-Grainedness, so lexical views do not escape them.
Keywords population axiology  lexical view  arrhenius  impossibility theorem  finite fine-grainedness  risk
Categories (categorize this paper)
ISBN(s)
DOI 10.1007/s11098-021-01621-4
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Translate to english
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

 PhilArchive page | Other versions
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Reasons and Persons.Derek Parfit - 1984 - Oxford University Press.
Principia Ethica.George Edward Moore - 1903 - Dover Publications.
Utilitarianism.J. S. Mill - 1861 - Oxford University Press UK.

View all 45 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

An Impossibility Theorem for Welfarist Axiologies.Gustaf Arrhenius - 2000 - Economics and Philosophy 16 (2):247-266.
Population Axiology.Hilary Greaves - 2017 - Philosophy Compass 12 (11):e12442.
Population Axiology.Gustaf Svante Henning Arrhenius - 2000 - Dissertation, University of Toronto (Canada)
One More Axiological Impossibility Theorem.Gustaf Arrhenius - 2009 - In Lars-Göran Johansson, Jan Österberg & Ryszard Sliwinski (eds.), Logic, Ethics and All That Jazz. Essays in Honour of Jordan Howard Sobel. Uppsala: Uppsala Philosophical Studies. pp. 23-37.
Topics in Population Ethics.Teruji Thomas - 2016 - Dissertation, University of Oxford

Analytics

Added to PP index
2021-04-05

Total views
213 ( #52,833 of 2,499,228 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
54 ( #15,255 of 2,499,228 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes