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  1. Testing for Intrinsic Value, for Us as We Are.Daniel Coren - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy:1-26.
    Philosophers such as Plato, Aristotle, Kant, Brentano, Moore, and Chisholm suggest marks of intrinsic value. Contemporary philosophers such as Christine Korsgaard have insightful discussions of intrinsic value. But how do we verify that some specific thing really is intrinsically valuable? I propose a natural way to test for intrinsic value: first, strip the candidate bare of all considerations of good consequences; and, second, see if what remains is still a good thing. I argue that we, as ordinary human beings, have (...)
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  2. Modeling Parity and Incomparability.Wlodek Rabinowicz - 2004 - In .
  3. Is Incomparability A Problem For Anyone?Nien-hê Hsieh - 2007 - Economics and Philosophy 23 (1):65-80.
    The incomparability of alternatives is thought to pose a problem for justified choice, particularly for proponents of comparativism – the view that comparative facts about alternatives determine what one rationally ought to choose. As a solution, it has been argued that alternatives judged incomparable by one of the three standard comparative relations, “better than,” “worse than,” and “equally good,” are comparable by some fourth relation, such as “roughly equal” or “on a par.” This solution, however, comes at what many would (...)
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  4. Incommensurability (and Incomparability).Ruth Chang - 2013 - In Hugh LaFollette (ed.), The International Encyclopedia of Ethics. Blackwell. pp. 2591-2604.
    This encyclopedia entry urges what it takes to be correctives to common (mis)understandings concerning the phenomenon of incommensurability and incomparability and briefly outlines some of their philosophical upshots.
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  5. The Problem of Semantic Incomparability.Johannes Bechert - 1991 - In Dietmar Zaefferer (ed.), Semantic Universals and Universal Semantics. Foris Publications. pp. 12--60.
  6. Value Relations: Old Wine in New Barrels.Wlodek Rabinowicz - 2011 - In .
    In Rabinowicz 2008, I considered how value relations can best be analyzed in terms of fitting pro-­‐attitudes. In the formal model presented in that paper fitting pro-­‐attitudes are represented by the class of permissible preference orderings on a domain of items that are being compared. As it turns out, this approach opens up for a multiplicity of different types of value relationships, along with the standard relations of "better", "worse", "equally as good as" and "incomparable in value". Unfortunately, though, the (...)
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  7. Transitivity and the Patterns of Adult Preferences.H. Bradbury & T. M. Nelson - 1973 - Bulletin of the Psychonomic Society 1 (5):337-339.
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  8. First Philosophy in the Pragmatic Humanism of F.C.S. Schiller.H. P. McDonald - 2003 - International Philosophical Quarterly 43 (4):503-525.
    During his lifetime, F.C.S. Schiller was viewed as a major figure in the pragmatist movement, but his reputation has faded. This article will challenge the view that he was an unoriginal or less important figure. In particular, I will attempt a reconstruction of Schiller’s position on first philosophy, which will examine the differences between Schiller and the other major figures in the pragmatist movement. By using texts from Schiller’s writings, I attempt to create an undistorted reconstruction of what he wrote (...)
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  9. Choice Structures and Preference Relations.Bengt Hansson - 1968 - Synthese 18 (4):443 - 458.
  10. Axiological Atomism.Graham Oddie - 2001 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 79 (3):313 – 332.
    Value is either additive or else it is subject to organic unity. In general we have organic unity where a complex whole is not simply the sum of its parts. Value exhibits organic unity if the value of a complex, whether a complex state or complex quality, is greater or less than the sum of the values of its components or parts. Whether or not value is additive might be thought to be of purely metaphysical interest, but it is also (...)
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  11. The Mere Addition Paradox, Parity and Vagueness.Mozaffar Qizilbash - 2007 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 75 (1):129–151.
    Derek Parfit’s mere addition paradox has generated a large literature. This paper articulates one response to this paradox - which Parfit hirnself suggested - in terms of a formal account of the relation of parity. I term this response the ‘parity view’. It is consistent with transitivity of ‘at least as good as’, but implies incompleteness of this relation. The parity view is compatible with critical-band utilitarianism if this is adjusted to allow for vagueness. John Broome argues against accounts which (...)
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  12. Linguistic Characterization of Preference Relations as a Basis for Choice in Social Systems.L. A. Zadeh - 1977 - Erkenntnis 11 (1):383 - 410.
Fact-Value Distinction
  1. Thick Concepts: Where’s Evaluation? 1.Pekka Väyrynen - 2012 - Oxford Studies in Metaethics 7:235-70.
    This chapter presents an alternative to the standard view that at least some of the evaluations that the so-called “thick” terms and concepts in ethics may be used to convey belong to their sense or semantic meaning. After introducing the topic and making some methodological remarks, the chapter presents a wide variety of linguistic data that are well explained by the alternative view that at least a very wide range of thick terms and concepts are such that even the evaluations (...)
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  2. Public Preferences About Fairness and the Ethics of Allocating Scarce Medical Interventions.Govind Persad - 2017 - In Meng Li & David Tracer (eds.), Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Fairness, Equity, and Justice. pp. 51-65.
    This chapter examines how social- scientific research on public preferences bears on the ethical question of how those resources should in fact be allocated, and explain how social-scientific researchers might find an understanding of work in ethics useful as they design mechanisms for data collection and analysis. I proceed by first distinguishing the methodologies of social science and ethics. I then provide an overview of different approaches to the ethics of allocating scarce medical interventions, including an approach—the complete lives system—which (...)
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  3. Comments on Kolenda's Theses: III.Irvin M. Copi - 1956 - Review of Metaphysics 10 (1):111-112.
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  4. Thick Ethical Concepts.Pekka Väyrynen - 2016 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    Evaluative terms and concepts are often divided into “thin” and “thick”. We don’t evaluate actions and persons merely as good or bad, or right or wrong, but also as kind, courageous, tactful, selfish, boorish, and cruel. The latter evaluative concepts are "descriptively thick": their application somehow involves both evaluation and a substantial amount of non-evaluative description. This article surveys various attempts to answer four fundamental questions about thick terms and concepts. (1) A “combination question”: how exactly do thick terms and (...)
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  5. 'It's Evaluation, Only Thicker'.Debbie Roberts - 2013 - In Simon Kirchin (ed.), Thick Concepts. Oxford University Press.
  6. Risk, Everyday Intuitions, and the Institutional Value of Tort Law.Govind C. Persad - 2009 - Stan. L. Rev 62:1445.
    This Note offers a normative critique of cost-benefit analysis, one informed by deontological moral theory, in the context of the debate over whether tort litigation or a non-tort approach is the appropriate response to mass harm. The first Part argues that the difference between lay and expert intuitions about risk and harm often reflects a difference in normative judgments about the existing facts, rather than a difference in belief about what facts exist, which makes the lay intuitions more defensible. The (...)
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  7. What is Value? Where Does It Come From? A Philosophical Perspective.Christine Tappolet & Mauro Rossi - 2015 - In Tobias Brosch & David Sander (eds.), The Value Handbook: The Affective Sciences of Values and Valuation. pp. 3-22.
    Are values objective or subjective? To clarify this question we start with an overview of the main concepts and debates in the philosophy of values. We then discuss the arguments for and against value realism, the thesis that there are objective evaluative facts. By contrast with value anti-realism, which is generally associated with sentimentalism, according to which evaluative judgements are grounded in sentiments, value realism is commonly coupled with rationalism. Against this common view, we argue that value realism can be (...)
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  8. Actuality and Value.J. Laird, G. Hicks & W. G. de Burgh - 1931 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 10 (1):81-134.
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  9. Knowledge and Values.Jeffrey Ernest Foss - 1977 - Dissertation, The University of Western Ontario (Canada)
  10. The Lewd, the Rude and the Nasty: A Study of Thick Concepts in Ethics.Pekka Väyrynen - 2013 - Oxford University Press.
    In addition to thin concepts like the good, the bad and the ugly, our evaluative thought and talk appeals to thick concepts like the lewd and the rude, the selfish and the cruel, the courageous and the kind -- concepts that somehow combine evaluation and non-evaluative description. Thick concepts are almost universally assumed to be inherently evaluative in content, and many philosophers claimed them to have deep and distinctive significance in ethics and metaethics. In this first book-length treatment of thick (...)
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  11. Moving Beyond Mirroring - a Social Affordance Model of Sensorimotor Integration During Action Perception.Maria Brincker - 2010 - Dissertation, City University of New York
    The discovery of so-called ‘mirror neurons’ - found to respond both to own actions and the observation of similar actions performed by others - has been enormously influential in the cognitive sciences and beyond. Given the self-other symmetry these neurons have been hypothesized as underlying a ‘mirror mechanism’ that lets us share representations and thereby ground core social cognitive functions from intention understanding to linguistic abilities and empathy. I argue that mirror neurons are important for very different reasons. Rather than (...)
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  12. Shapelessness in Context.Pekka Väyrynen - 2014 - Noûs 48 (3):573-593.
    Many philosophers believe that the extensions of evaluative terms and concepts aren’t unified under non-evaluative similarity relations and that this “shapelessness thesis” (ST) has significant metaethical implications regarding non-cognitivism, ethical naturalism, moral particularism, thick concepts and more. ST is typically offered as an explanation of why evaluative classifications appear to “outrun” classifications specifiable in independently intelligible non-evaluative terms. This paper argues that both ST and the outrunning point used to motivate it can be explained on the basis of more general (...)
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  13. Morality and Hot Mud.Arnold Zuboff - 2002 - Philosophy Now 37:39-40.
    For a while in this article it seems impossible to articulate a compelling reason for refraining from killing an innocent stranger with the press of a button when this would earn one a small prize and would be done with absolutely guaranteed immunity from any punishment or other harm (including even an instantaneous elimination of any chance of a guilty memory, achieved through hypnosis, and an ironclad commitment from God not to condemn the killing). After many failed attempts, a compelling (...)
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  14. Why Should I Care About Morality?Arnold Zuboff - 2001 - Philosophy Now 31:24-27.
    For a while in this article it seems impossible to articulate a compelling reason for refraining from killing an innocent stranger with the press of a button when this would earn one a small prize and would be done with absolutely guaranteed immunity from any punishment or other harm (including even an instantaneous elimination of any chance of a guilty memory, achieved through hypnosis, and an ironclad commitment from God not to condemn the killing). After many failed attempts, a compelling (...)
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  15. Putnam and the Political.Narve Strand - 2011 - Philosophy and Social Criticism 37 (7):743-757.
    This article deals with how to talk about the political. After the introduction (I), I show, first, that Putnam’s arguments against the root dichotomies between facts and values (II), and between values and norms (III), are valid. I then discuss Putnam’s resistance to drawing skeptical lessons from these negative arguments, a fight that is largely successful (IV). I go on to sketch his own middle position, looking at the way he expands cognitive meaning in the practical sphere (V). I end (...)
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  16. Shapelessness and the Thick.Debbie Roberts - 2011 - Ethics 121 (3):489-520.
    This article aims to clarify the view that thick concepts are irreducibly thick. I do this by putting the disentangling argument in its place and then setting out what nonreductivists about the thick are committed to. To distinguish the view from possible reductive accounts, defenders of irreducible thickness are, I argue, committed to the claim that evaluative concepts and properties are nonevaluatively shapeless. This in turn requires a commitment to (radical) holism and particularism. Nonreductivists are also committed to the claim (...)
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  17. Symposium: Actuality and Value.J. Laird, G. Dawes Hicks & W. G. De Burgh - 1931 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 10:81 - 134.
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  18. It Does Not Matter Whether We Can Derive 'Ought' From 'Is'.Alison Jaggar - 1974 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 3 (3):373 - 379.
    In this paper, I want to discuss the recent attempts by Professor John R. Searle to cast doubt on the traditional empiricist distinction between fact and value. Searle's first attack on this distinction was made in 1964 in his now classic article, “How to derive ‘ought’ from ‘is’.” In that paper, he presented what he claimed to be a counter-example to the thesis that statements of fact may not entail statements of value. Searle's argument aroused much controversy and inspired many (...)
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  19. Review of Michael P. Lynch, True to Life: Why Truth Matters. [REVIEW]Cory D. Wright - 2005 - International Philosophical Quarterly 45 (2):271-273.
  20. The Collapse of the Fact/Value Distinction and Other Essays.Alexei Angelides - 2003 - Graduate Faculty Philosophy Journal 24 (1):235-242.
    Towards the end of their reign, the logical positivists found themselves in bitter disagreement as to what extent the methods and axioms of the natural sciences can be justified by our abilities to grunt and point. What began as a project to epistemically ground the natural sciences ended as an argument about cavemen. Although such a story might be a good one, the consensus, among the positivists’ rivals and the positivists themselves, seemed to be that ahead lay a difficult road (...)
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  21. The Is/Ought Gap, the Fact/Value Distinction and the Naturalistic Fallacy.Julian Dodd & Suzanne Stern-Gillet - 1995 - Dialogue 34 (4):727-.
  22. Morality as What One Really Desires.Arnold Zuboff - 1995 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 20 (1):142-164.
    If I desire to drink some stuff thinking it is hot chocolate when actually it is hot mud, my desire is not a real one - it’s mistaken or only apparent. This example illustrates how a desire must always depend on a belief about its object, a belief about what it is and what it’s like. But beliefs are correctable, so desires are correctable. This leads us directly to a very sweeping principle - that I only really desire what I (...)
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  23. Evolution, Explanation, and the Fact/Value Distinction.Stephen W. Ball - 1988 - Biology and Philosophy 3 (3):317-348.
    Though modern non-cognitivists in ethics characteristically believe that values are irreducible to facts, they nevertheless believe that values are determined by facts, viz., those specified in functionalist, explanatory theories of the evolutionary origin of morality. The present paper probes the consistency of this position. The conventionalist theories of Hume and Harman are examined, and are seen not to establish a tight determinative reduction of values to facts. This result is illustrated by reference to recent theories of the sociobiological mechanisms involved (...)
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  24. Is There Any Virtue in Modern Science?John Collier - 2000 - Biology and Philosophy 15 (5):773-784.
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  25. Intersubjective Properties by Which We Specify Pain, Pleasure, and Other Kinds of Mental States.Irwin Goldstein - 2000 - Philosophy 75 (291):89-104.
    By what types of properties do we specify twinges, toothaches, and other kinds of mental states? Wittgenstein considers two methods. Procedure one, direct, private acquaintance: A person connects a word to the sensation it specifies through noticing what that sensation is like in his own experience. Procedure two, outward signs: A person pins his use of a word to outward, pre-verbal signs of the sensation. I identify and explain a third procedure and show we in fact specify many kinds of (...)
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  26. On the Fact-Value Distinction and the Phenomenology of Caring.Per Nortvedt - 2005 - Nursing Philosophy 6 (2):81–82.
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  27. Justification, Rationality and Mistake: Mistake of Law is No Excuse? It Might Be a Justificaton!Re’em Segev - 2006 - Law and Philosophy 25 (1):31-79.
    According to a famous maxim, ignorance or mistake of law is no excuse. This maxim is supposed to represent both the standard and the proper rule of law. In fact, this maxim should be qualified in both respects: ignorance and mistake of law sometimes are, and (perhaps even more often) should be, excused. But this dual qualification only reinforces the fundamental and ubiquitous assumption which underlies the discussions of the subject, namely, that the only ground of exculpation relevant to ignorance (...)
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  28. Ruth Anna Putnam and the Fact-Value Distinction.J. J. C. Smart - 1999 - Philosophy 74 (3):431-437.
    This article is a defence of the Fact-Value distinction against considerations brought up by Ruth Anna Putnam in three articles in Philosophy, especially her ‘Perceiving Facts and Values’ January 1998. I defend metaphysical realism about facts and anti-realism about values against Putnam' intermediate position about both and I relate the matter to the logic of imperatives. The motivations of scientists or historians to select fields of investigation are irrelevant to the objectivity of their hypotheses, and so is the goodness or (...)
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Incommensurability of Value
  1. Superhard Choices.Miguel F. Dos Santos - 2020 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 98 (2):248-265.
    Sometimes, when comparing a pair of items, it appears that neither is better than the other, nor that they are equally good, relative to a certain value that they bear. Cases of this kind have come to be referred to as superhard comparisons. What grounds superhard comparisons? On the dominant views, held by Joseph Raz and Ruth Chang, they are grounded, at least partially, in the failure of the three classic value relations—‘better than’, ‘worse than’, and ‘equally good’. On an (...)
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  2. Asymmetries in the Value of Existence.Jacob M. Nebel - forthcoming - Philosophical Perspectives.
    According to asymmetric comparativism, it is worse for a person to exist with a miserable life than not to exist, but it is not better for a person to exist with a happy life than not to exist. My aim in this paper is to explain how asymmetric comparativism could possibly be true. My account of asymmetric comparativism begins with a different asymmetry, regarding the (dis)value of early death. I offer an account of this early death asymmetry, appealing to the (...)
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  3. Totalism Without Repugnance.Jacob M. Nebel - forthcoming - In Festschrift for Derek Parfit.
    Totalism is the view that one distribution of well-being is better than another just in case the one contains a greater sum of well-being than the other. Many philosophers, following Parfit, reject totalism on the grounds that it entails the repugnant conclusion that, for any number of excellent lives, there is some number of mediocre lives whose existence would be better. This paper develops a theory of welfare aggregation—the lexical-threshold view—that allows totalism to avoid the repugnant conclusion, as well as (...)
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  4. Utilitarianism with and Without Expected Utility.David McCarthy, Kalle Mikkola & Joaquin Teruji Thomas - 2016 - Journal of Mathematical Economics 87:77-113.
    We give two social aggregation theorems under conditions of risk, one for constant population cases, the other an extension to variable populations. Intra and interpersonal welfare comparisons are encoded in a single ‘individual preorder’. The theorems give axioms that uniquely determine a social preorder in terms of this individual preorder. The social preorders described by these theorems have features that may be considered characteristic of Harsanyi-style utilitarianism, such as indifference to ex ante and ex post equality. However, the theorems are (...)
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  5. Aggregation for General Populations Without Continuity or Completeness.David McCarthy, Kalle M. Mikkola & J. Teruji Thomas - 2019 - arXiv.
    We generalize Harsanyi's social aggregation theorem. We allow the population to be infi nite, and merely assume that individual and social preferences are given by strongly independent preorders on a convex set of arbitrary dimension. Thus we assume neither completeness nor any form of continuity. Under Pareto indifference, the conclusion of Harsanyi's theorem nevertheless holds almost entirely unchanged when utility values are taken to be vectors in a product of lexicographic function spaces. The addition of weak or strong Pareto has (...)
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  6. Three Paradoxes of Supererogation.Daniel Muñoz - forthcoming - Noûs.
    Supererogatory acts—good deeds “beyond the call of duty”—are a part of moral common sense, but conceptually puzzling. I propose a unified solution to three of the most infamous puzzles: the classic Paradox of Supererogation (if it’s so good, why isn’t it just obligatory?), Horton’s All or Nothing Problem, and Kamm’s Intransitivity Paradox. I conclude that supererogation makes sense if, and only if, the grounds of rightness are multi-dimensional and comparative.
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  7. A Fixed-Population Problem for the Person-Affecting Restriction.Jacob M. Nebel - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies.
    According to the person-affecting restriction, one distribution of welfare can be better than another only if there is someone for whom it is better. Extant problems for the person-affecting restriction involve variable-population cases, such as the nonidentity problem, which are notoriously controversial and difficult to resolve. This paper develops a fixed-population problem for the person-affecting restriction. The problem reveals that, in the presence of incommensurable welfare levels, the person-affecting restriction is incompatible with minimal requirements of impartial beneficence even in fixed-population (...)
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  8. Rational Choice and the Transitivity of Betterness.Toby Handfield - 2014 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 89 (3):584-604.
    If A is better than B and B is better than C, then A is better than C, right? Larry Temkin and Stuart Rachels say: No! Betterness is nontransitive, they claim. In this paper, I discuss the central type of argument advanced by Temkin and Rachels for this radical idea, and argue that, given this view very likely has sceptical implications for practical reason, we would do well to identify alternative responses. I propose one such response, which employs the idea (...)
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  9. Opaque Sweetening and Transitivity.Ryan Doody - 2019 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 97 (3):559-571.
    I argue that any plausible decision theory for agents with incomplete preferences which obeys the Never Worse Principle will violate Transitivity. The Never Worse Principle says that if one option never does worse than another, you shouldn’t disprefer it. Transitivity says that if you prefer X to Y and you prefer Y to Z, then you should prefer X to Z. Violating Transitivity allows one to be money pumped. Although agents with incomplete preferences are already, in virtue of having incomplete (...)
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  10. Parity, Prospects, and Predominance.Ryan Doody - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (4):1077-1095.
    Let’s say that you regard two things as on a par when you don’t prefer one to other and aren’t indifferent between them. What does rationality require of you when choosing between risky options whose outcomes you regard as on a par? According to Prospectism, you are required to choose the option with the best prospects, where an option’s prospects is a probability-distribution over its potential outcomes. In this paper, I argue that Prospectism violates a dominance principle—which I call The (...)
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