David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (2008)
In Derek Parfit's original formulation the Repugnant Conclusion is characterized as follows: “For any possible population of at least ten billion people, all with a very high quality of life, there must be some much larger imaginable population whose existence, if other things are equal, would be better even though its members have lives that are barely worth living” (Parfit 1984). The Repugnant Conclusion highlights a problem in an area of ethics which has become known as population ethics . The last three decades have witnessed an increasing philosophical interest in questions such as “Is it possible to make the world a better place by creating additional happy creatures?” and “Is there a moral obligation to have children?” The main problem has been to find an adequate theory about the moral value of states of affairs where the number of people, the quality of their lives, and their identities may vary. Since, arguably, any reasonable moral theory has to take these aspects of possible states of affairs into account when determining the normative status of actions, the study of population ethics is of general import for moral theory. As the name indicates, Parfit finds the Repugnant Conclusion unacceptable and many philosophers agree. However, it has been surprisingly difficult to find a theory that avoids the Repugnant Conclusion without implying other equally counterintuitive conclusions. Thus, the question as to how the Repugnant Conclusion should be dealt with and, more generally, what it shows about the nature of ethics has turned the conclusion into one of the cardinal challenges of modern ethics.
|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
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Stuart Rachels (2001). A Set of Solutions to Parfit's Problems. Noûs 35 (2):214–238.
Michael Huemer (2008). In Defence of Repugnance. Mind 117 (468):899-933.
Stuart Rachels (2004). Repugnance or Intransitivity: A Repugnant But Forced Choice. In Jesper Ryberg Torbjorn Tannsjo (ed.), The Repugnant Conclusion: Essays on Population Ethics. Kluwer Academic Publishers.
Stuart Rachels (2004). Repugnance or Intransitivity: A Repugnant but Forced Choice. In The Repugnant Conclusion: Essays on Population Ethics.
Douglas W. Portmore (1999). Does the Total Principle Have Any Repugnant Implications? Ratio 12 (1):80–98.
Thomas Søbirk Petersen (2006). On the Repugnance of the Repugnant Conclusion. Theoria 72 (2):126-137.
Jesper Ryberg, Torbjörn Tännsjö & Gustaf Arrhenius (2006). The Repugnant Conclusion. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Online; Last Accessed October 4:2006.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads34 ( #58,162 of 1,410,162 )
Recent downloads (6 months)8 ( #26,632 of 1,410,162 )
How can I increase my downloads?