Broome and the intuition of neutrality

Philosophical Issues 19 (1):389-411 (2009)
In “Weighing Lives” (2004) John Broome criticizes a view common to many population axiologists. On that view, population increases with extra people leading decent lives are axiologically neutral: they make the world neither better nor worse, ceteris paribus. Broome argues that this intuition, however, attractive, cannot be sustained, for several independent reasons. I respond to his criticisms and suggest that the neutrality intuition, if correctly interpreted, can after all be defended.On the version I defend,the world with added extra people at wellbeing levels within the neutrality range is incommensurable in value with the world in which these peaople are absent.
Keywords neutrality intuition  population ethics  incommensurability  mere addition paradox  Broome, John  Value relations  utilitarianism  critical level utilitarianism
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DOI 10.1111/j.1533-6077.2009.00174.x
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Wlodek Rabinowicz (2009). Incommensurability and Vagueness. Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 83 (1):71-94.
Wlodek Rabinowicz (2012). Value Relations Revisited. Economics and Philosophy 28 (2):133-164.

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