David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Australasian Journal of Philosophy 76 (1):71 – 83 (1998)
Ethicists and economists commonly assume that if A is all things considered better than B, and B is all things considered better than C, then A is all things considered better than C. Call this principle Transitivity. Although it has great conceptual, intuitive, and empirical appeal, I argue against it. Larry S. Temkin explains how three types of ethical principle, which cannot be dismissed a priori, threaten Transitivity: (a) principles implying that in some cases different factors are relevant to comparing A to C than to comparing A to B or B to C; (b) principles of limited scope; (c) principles implying that morally relevant differences in degree can amount to differences in kind. My counterexamples employ a principle of type (c): pleasures and pains enormously different in intensity differ in kind. Temkin has also endorsed this type of counterexample, using arguments based on earlier drafts of this paper.
|Keywords||Transitivity Intransitivity Derek Parfit The Second Paradox Pain The Mere Addition Paradox The Repugnant Conclusion Larry Temkin|
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Dale Dorsey (2010). Preferences, Welfare, and the Status-Quo Bias. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 88 (3):535-554.
Michael Huemer (2012). Against Equality and Priority. Utilitas 24 (04):483-501.
Alex Voorhoeve (2013). Vaulting Intuition: Temkin's Critique of Transitivity. Economics and Philosophy 29 (3):409-425.
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