David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Economics and Philosophy 21 (1):109-131 (2005)
Axiomatic utility theory plays a foundational role in some accounts of normative principles. In this context, it is sometimes argued that transitivity of “better than” is a logical truth. Larry Temkin and Stuart Rachels use various examples to argue that “better than” is non–transitive, and that transitivity is not a logical truth. These examples typically involve some sort of “discontinuity.” In his discussion of one of these examples, John Broome suggests that we should reject the claim which involves “discontinuity.” We can, I suggest, make sense of the examples which Temkin uses while sacrificing neither transitivity nor “discontinuity.” This response to Temkin's examples involves developing and modifying James Griffin's account of “discontinuity.” If the account of “discontinuity” seems implausible, that is because of a failure to allow for vagueness. A similar argument can be made in the context of the well-known “repugnant conclusion.” Footnotes1 This paper emerged from a discussion in one of John Broome's seminars. I am very grateful to John Broome, Erik Carlson, James Griffin, Wlodek Rabinowicz, Stuart Rachels, and Larry Temkin for allowing me to read various forthcoming manuscripts which are mentioned in the paper. I am also extremely grateful to Gustaf Arrhenius, Walter Bossert, Luc Bovens, John Broome, Richard Cookson, Robin Cubitt, James Griffin, Graham Loomes, Ben McQuillin, Shepley Orr, Wlodek Rabinowicz, Stuart Rachels, Bob Sugden, and two anonymous referees for comments on earlier versions. Any errors or omissions are mine.
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
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
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
A. Faik Kurtulmus (2012). Uncertainty Behind the Veil of Ignorance. Utilitas 24 (01):41-62.
Alex Voorhoeve (2013). Vaulting Intuition: Temkin's Critique of Transitivity. Economics and Philosophy 29 (3):409-425.
Similar books and articles
Mozaffar Qizilbash (2000). Comparability of Values, Rough Equality, and Vagueness: Griffin and Broome on Incommensurability. Utilitas 12 (02):223-.
Wlodek Rabinowicz (2009). Incommensurability and Vagueness. Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 83 (1):71-94.
Stuart Rachels (2001). Intransitivity. In Lawrence C. Becker Mary Becker & Charlotte Becker (eds.), Encyclopedia of Ethics, Volume 2. Routledge.
Alex Voorhoeve (2008). Heuristics and Biases in a Purported Counter-Example to the Acyclicity of 'Better Than'. Politics, Philosophy and Economics 7 (3):285-299.
Alastair Norcross (1999). Intransitivity and the Person-Affecting Principle. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 59 (3):769-776.
Erik Carlson (2004). Broome's Argument Against Value Incomparability. Utilitas 16 (2):220-224.
Mozaffar Qizilbash (2007). The Mere Addition Paradox, Parity and Vagueness. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 75 (1):129–151.
Stuart Rachels (1998). Counterexamples to the Transitivity of Better Than. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 76 (1):71 – 83.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads30 ( #62,221 of 1,101,833 )
Recent downloads (6 months)10 ( #24,761 of 1,101,833 )
How can I increase my downloads?