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Profile: Johan E. Gustafsson (University of York)
  1. Johan E. Gustafsson (2014). Combinative Consequentialism and the Problem of Act Versions. Philosophical Studies 167 (3):585–596.
    In the 1960’s, Lars Bergström and Hector-Neri Castañeda noticed a problem with alternative acts and consequentialism. The source of the problem is that some performable acts are versions of other performable acts and the versions need not have the same consequences as the originals. Therefore, if all performable acts are among the agent’s alternatives, act consequentialism yields deontic paradoxes. A standard response is to restrict the application of act consequentialism to certain relevant alternative sets. Many proposals are based on some (...)
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  2. Johan E. Gustafsson & Olle Torpman (2014). In Defence of My Favourite Theory. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 95 (2):159–174.
    One of the principles on how to act under moral uncertainty, My Favourite Theory, says roughly that a morally conscientious agent chooses an option that is permitted by the most credible moral theory. In defence of this principle, we argue that it prescribes consistent choices over time, without relying on intertheoretic comparisons of value, while its main rivals are either plagued by moral analogues of money pumps or in need of a method for making non-arbitrary intertheoretic comparisons. We rebut the (...)
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  3. Johan E. Gustafsson (2013). Indeterminacy and the Small-Improvement Argument. Utilitas 25 (4):433–445.
    In this article, I argue that the small-improvement fails since some of the comparisons involved in the argument might be indeterminate. I defend this view from two objections by Ruth Chang, namely the argument from phenomenology and the argument from perplexity. There are some other objections to the small-improvement argument that also hinge on claims about indeterminacy. John Broome argues that alleged cases of value incomparability are merely examples of indeterminacy in the betterness relation. The main premise of his argument (...)
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  4. Johan E. Gustafsson (2013). Neither 'Good' in Terms of 'Better' nor 'Better' in Terms of 'Good'. Noûs 48 (1):466-473.
    In this paper, I argue against defining either of ‘good’ and ‘better’ in terms of the other. According to definitions of ‘good’ in terms of ‘better’, something is good if and only if it is better than some indifference point. Against this approach, I argue that the indifference point cannot be defined in terms of ‘better’ without ruling out some reasonable axiologies. Against defining ‘better’ in terms of ‘good’, I argue that this approach either cannot allow for the incorruptibility of (...)
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  5. Johan E. Gustafsson (2013). The Irrelevance of the Diachronic Money-Pump Argument for Acyclicity. Journal of Philosophy 110 (8):460–464.
    The money-pump argument is the standard argument for the acyclicity of rational preferences. The argument purports to show that agents with cyclic preferences are in some possible situations forced to act against their preference. In the usual, diachronic version of the money-pump argument, such agents accept a series of trades that leaves them worse off than before. Two stock objections are (i) that one may get the drift and refuse the trades and (ii) that one may adopt a plan to (...)
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  6. Johan E. Gustafsson (2013). Value-Preference Symmetry and Fitting-Attitude Accounts of Value Relations. Philosophical Quarterly 63 (252):476–491.
    Joshua Gert and Wlodek Rabinowicz have developed frameworks for value relations that are rich enough to allow for non-standard value relations such as parity. Yet their frameworks do not allow for any non-standard preference relations. In this paper, I shall defend a symmetry between values and preferences, namely, that for every value relation, there is a corresponding preference relation, and vice versa. I claim that if the arguments that there are non-standard value relations are cogent, these arguments, mutatis mutandis, also (...)
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  7. Johan E. Gustafsson & Martin Peterson (2012). A Computer Simulation of the Argument From Disagreement. Synthese 184 (3):387–405.
    In this paper we shed new light on the Argument from Disagreement by putting it to test in a computer simulation. According to this argument widespread and persistent disagreement on ethical issues indicates that our moral opinions are not influenced by any moral facts, either because no such facts exist or because they are epistemically inaccessible or inefficacious for some other reason. Our simulation shows that if our moral opinions were influenced at least a little bit by moral facts, we (...)
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  8. Johan E. Gustafsson (2011). An Extended Framework for Preference Relations. Economics and Philosophy 27 (3):360–367.
    In order to account for non-traditional preference relations the present paper develops a new, richer framework for preference relations. This new framework provides characterizations of non-traditional preference relations, such as incommensurateness and instability, that may hold when neither preference nor indifference do. The new framework models relations with swaps, which are conceived of as transfers from one alternative state to another. The traditional framework analyses dyadic preference relations in terms of a hypothetical choice between the two compared alternatives. The swap (...)
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  9. Johan E. Gustafsson (2011). An Extended Framework for Preference Relations – Erratum. Economics and Philosophy 27 (3):359.
    In order to account for non-traditional preference relations the present paper develops a new, richer framework for preference relations. This new framework provides characterizations of non-traditional preference relations, such as incommensurateness and instability, that may hold when neither preference nor indifference do. The new framework models relations with swaps, which are conceived of as transfers from one alternative state to another. The traditional framework analyses dyadic preference relations in terms of a hypothetical choice between the two compared alternatives. The swap (...)
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  10. Johan E. Gustafsson (2011). A Note in Defence of Ratificationism. Erkenntnis 75 (1):147–150.
    Andy Egan argues that neither evidential nor causal decision theory gives the intuitively right recommendation in the cases The Smoking Lesion, The Psychopath Button, and The Three-Option Smoking Lesion. Furthermore, Egan argues that we cannot avoid these problems by any kind of ratificationism. This paper develops a new version of ratificationism that gives the right recommendations. Thus, the new proposal has an advantage over evidential and casual decision theory and standard ratificationist evidential decision theory.
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  11. Johan E. Gustafsson (2011). Phenomenal Continuity and the Bridge Problem. Philosophia 39 (2):289–296.
    Any theory that analyses personal identity in terms of phenomenal continuity needs to deal with the ordinary interruptions of our consciousness that it is commonly thought that a person can survive. This is the bridge problem. The present paper offers a novel solution to the bridge problem based on the proposal that dreamless sleep need not interrupt phenomenal continuity. On this solution one can both hold that phenomenal continuity is necessary for personal identity and that persons can survive dreamless sleep.
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  12. Johan E. Gustafsson (2010). Freedom of Choice and Expected Compromise. Social Choice and Welfare 35 (1):65–79.
    This article develops a new measure of freedom of choice based on the proposal that a set offers more freedom of choice than another if, and only if, the expected degree of dissimilarity between a random alternative from the set of possible alternatives and the most similar offered alternative in the set is smaller. Furthermore, a version of this measure is developed, which is able to take into account the values of the possible options.
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  13. Johan E. Gustafsson (2010). A Money-Pump for Acyclic Intransitive Preferences. Dialectica 64 (2):251–257.
    The standard argument for the claim that rational preferences are transitive is the pragmatic money-pump argument. However, a money-pump only exploits agents with cyclic strict preferences. In order to pump agents who violate transitivity but without a cycle of strict preferences, one needs to somehow induce such a cycle. Methods for inducing cycles of strict preferences from non-cyclic violations of transitivity have been proposed in the literature, based either on offering the agent small monetary transaction premiums or on multi-dimensional preferences. (...)
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  14. Johan E. Gustafsson (2010). Did Locke Defend the Memory Continuity Criterion of Personal Identity? Locke Studies 10:113–129.
    John Locke’s account of personal identity is usually thought to have been proved false by Thomas Reid’s simple ‘Gallant Officer’ argument. Locke is traditionally interpreted as holding that your having memories of a past person’s thoughts or actions is necessary and sufficient for your being identical to that person. This paper argues that the traditional memory interpretation of Locke’s account is mistaken and defends a memory continuity view according to which a sequence of overlapping memories is necessary and sufficient for (...)
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  15. Johan E. Gustafsson & Nicolas Espinoza (2010). Conflicting Reasons in the Small-Improvement Argument. Philosophical Quarterly 60 (241):754–763.
    The small-improvement argument is usually considered the most powerful argument against comparability, viz the view that for any two alternatives an agent is rationally required either to prefer one of the alternatives to the other or to be indifferent between them. We argue that while there might be reasons to believe each of the premises in the small-improvement argument, there is a conflict between these reasons. As a result, the reasons do not provide support for believing the conjunction of the (...)
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