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Nikhil Venkatesh
London School of Economics
  1. What Should We Agree on about the Repugnant Conclusion?Stephane Zuber, Nikhil Venkatesh, Torbjörn Tännsjö, Christian Tarsney, H. Orri Stefánsson, Katie Steele, Dean Spears, Jeff Sebo, Marcus Pivato, Toby Ord, Yew-Kwang Ng, Michal Masny, William MacAskill, Nicholas Lawson, Kevin Kuruc, Michelle Hutchinson, Johan E. Gustafsson, Hilary Greaves, Lisa Forsberg, Marc Fleurbaey, Diane Coffey, Susumu Cato, Clinton Castro, Tim Campbell, Mark Budolfson, John Broome, Alexander Berger, Nick Beckstead & Geir B. Asheim - 2021 - Utilitas 33 (4):379-383.
    The Repugnant Conclusion served an important purpose in catalyzing and inspiring the pioneering stage of population ethics research. We believe, however, that the Repugnant Conclusion now receives too much focus. Avoiding the Repugnant Conclusion should no longer be the central goal driving population ethics research, despite its importance to the fundamental accomplishments of the existing literature.
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  2. Utilitarianism and the Social Nature of Persons.Nikhil Venkatesh - 2023 - Dissertation, University College London
    This thesis defends utilitarianism: the view that as far as morality goes, one ought to choose the option which will result in the most overall well-being. Utilitarianism is widely rejected by philosophers today, largely because of a number of influential objections. In this thesis I deal with three of them. Each is found in Bernard Williams’s ‘A Critique of Utilitarianism’ (1973). The first is the Integrity Objection, an intervention that has been influential whilst being subject to a wide variety of (...)
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  3. Is act-consquentialism self-effacing?Nikhil Venkatesh - 2021 - Analysis 81 (4):718-726.
    Act-consequentialism (C) is self-effacing for an agent iff that agent’s not accepting C would produce the best outcome. The question of whether C is self-effacing is important for evaluating C. Some hold that if C is self-effacing that would be a mark against it (Williams 1973: 134); however, the claim that C is self-effacing is also used to defend C against certain objections (Parfit 1984: Ch. 1, Railton 1984). -/- In this paper I will show that one argument suggested by (...)
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    Inefficacy, Pre-emption and Structural Injustice.Nikhil Venkatesh - 2023 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 123 (3):395-404.
    Many pressing problems are of the following kind: some collection of actions of multiple people will produce some morally significant outcome (good or bad), but each individual action in the collection seems to make no difference to the outcome. These problems pose theoretical problems (especially for act-consequentialism), and practical problems for agents trying to figure out what they ought to do. Much recent literature on such problems has focused on whether it is possible for each action in such a collection (...)
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  5. Against Commitment.Nikhil Venkatesh - 2022 - Philosophical Studies 179 (12):3511-3534.
    In his famous ‘Integrity Objection’, Bernard Williams condemns utilitarianism for requiring us to regard our projects as dispensable, and thus precluding us from being properly committed to them. In this paper, I argue against commitment as Williams defines it, drawing upon insights from the socialist tradition as well as mainstream analytic moral philosophy. I show that given the mutual interdependence of individuals (a phenomenon emphasised by socialists) several appealing non-utilitarian moral principles also require us to regard our projects as dispensable. (...)
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  6. Surveillance Capitalism: a Marx-inspired account.Nikhil Venkatesh - 2021 - Philosophy 96 (3):359-385..
    Some of the world's most powerful corporations practise what Shoshana Zuboff (2015; 2019) calls ‘surveillance capitalism’. The core of their business is harvesting, analysing and selling data about the people who use their products. In Zuboff's view, the first corporation to engage in surveillance capitalism was Google, followed by Facebook; recently, firms such as Microsoft and Amazon have pivoted towards such a model. In this paper, I suggest that Karl Marx's analysis of the relations between industrial capitalists and workers is (...)
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  7. Repugnance and Perfection.Nikhil Venkatesh - 2020 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 48 (3):262-284.
    A foundational problem in population ethics is the “repugnant conclusion", introduced by Derek Parfit in Reasons and Persons. It holds that for any possible population of at least ten billion lives of very high positive welfare, there is some larger possible population of lives of very low positive welfare whose existence would be better, if other things are equal. I call this claim RC1. In this article, I argue that by carefully considering the nature and variety of possible lives of (...)
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