About this topic
Summary Two options or objects a and b are said to be incommensurable, incommensurate, or incomparable with respect to some value when the comparison is not malformed or irrelevant, but with respect to the value in question, (i) it is not true that a is better than b, (ii) it is not true that b is better than a, and (iii) it is not true that a and b are precisely equally good. A famous example (from John Broome) is the comparison between Stonehenge and Salisbury Cathedral: which is more impressive? Incommensurability raises two main sets of issues. First, what is the semantic and metaphysical status of a comparison between incommensurate objects? Second, how can practical reason operate when it must choose between such objects?
Key works Many of the central works in this area are found in Chang 1997, including several of those listed here. For arguments that there really are incommensurate options, and not merely those that are equally good, see 'small-improvement arguments' in  De Sousa 1974, Raz 1986 and Sinnott-Armstrong 1985. The latter also argues that incommensurability can ground moral dilemmas. Recent criticism of small-improvement arguments may be found in Gustafsson & Espinoza 2010. Chang 2002 argues that there is a fourth comparative called parity which sometimes holds between incommensurate objects. Broome 1997 argues that incommensurability is vagueness, or indeterminacy; Carlson 2004 criticises the central principle of this argument. Constantinescu 2012 is a recent defence of that principle. The self-described 'designated eccentric' who rejects incommensurability (at least with respect to the Moorean 'good') is Regan 1997.
Introductions Chang 1997 is a comprehensive survey of the issues.
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  1. "Swamping Problem" als Doppelproblem.Zhaohui Wen - manuscript
    Die sogenannte „Swamping Problem“ macht uns es deutlich, dass vielleicht die Erkenntnis nicht mehr wertvoll als nur wahrer Glaube ist. Ein Typ der Antworten ist, dass der Wert der Erkenntnis die Addition den Wert der Wahrheit und X gleicht. Ich will diese Vorschläge ablehnen, nämlich, ich will ein Argument gegen sogenannte reduktiv Analysierung des Werts der Erkenntnis von dem Wert des wahreren Glaubens vorschlagen. Weil in meine Meinung, dass die „Swamping Problem“ nicht ein isoliertes Problem über Erkenntnis Theorie ist, aber (...)
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  2. The Case for Comparability.Cian Dorr, Jacob M. Nebel & Jake Zuehl - forthcoming - Noûs.
    We argue that all gradable expressions in natural language obey a principle that we call Comparability: if x and y are both F to some degree, then either x is at least as F as y or y is at least as F as x. This principle has been widely rejected among philosophers, especially by ethicists, and its falsity has been claimed to have important normative implications. We argue that Comparability is needed to explain the goodness of several patterns of (...)
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  3. Violations of Human Dignity.Webster Elaine & Kaufmann Paulus (eds.) - forthcoming - Springer.
  4. Lesser-Evil Justifications: A Reply to Frowe.Kerah Gordon-Solmon & Theron Pummer - forthcoming - Law and Philosophy.
    Sometimes one can prevent harm only by contravening rights. If the harm one can prevent is great enough, compared to the stringency of the opposing rights, then one has a lesser-evil justification to contravene the rights. Non-consequentialist orthodoxy holds that, most of the time, lesser-evil justifications add to agents’ permissible options without taking any away. Helen Frowe rejects this view. She claims that, almost always, agents must act on their lesser-evil justifications. Our primary task is to refute Frowe’s flagship argument. (...)
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  5. Money-Pump Arguments.Johan E. Gustafsson - forthcoming - Cambridge University Press.
    Suppose that you prefer A to B, B to C, and A to C. Your preferences violate Expected Utility Theory by being cyclic. Money-pump arguments offer a way to show that such violations are irrational. Suppose that you start with A. Then you should be willing to trade A for C and then C for B. But then, once you have C, you are offered a trade back to A for a small cost. Since you prefer A to C, you (...)
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  6. Torture. How Denying Moral Standing Violates Human Dignity.Andreas Maier - forthcoming - In Webster Elaine & Kaufmann Paulus (eds.), Violations of Human Dignity. Springer.
    In this article I try to elucidate the concept of human dignity by taking a closer look at the features of a paradigmatic torture situation. After identifying the salient aspects of torture, I discuss various accounts for the moral wrongness of such acts and argue that what makes torture a violation of human dignity is the perverted moral relationship between torturer and victim. This idea is subsequently being substantiated and defended against important objections. In the final part of the chapter (...)
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  7. Sources of Transitivity.Daniel Muñoz - forthcoming - Economics and Philosophy.
    Why should be ‘better than’ be transitive? The leading answer in ethics is that values do not change with context. But this cannot be the entire source of transitivity, I argue, since transitivity can fail even if values never change, so long as they are complex, with multiple dimensions combined non-additively. I conclude by exploring a new hypothesis: that all alleged cases of nontransitive betterness, such as Parfit’s Repugnant Conclusion, can and should be modeled as the result of complexity, not (...)
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  8. The Many, the Few, and the Nature of Value.Daniel Muñoz - forthcoming - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy.
    John Taurek argues that, in a choice between saving the many or the few, the numbers should not count. Some object that this view clashes with the transitivity of ‘better than’; others insist the clash can be avoided. I defend a middle ground: Taurek cannot have transitivity, but that doesn’t doom his view, given a suitable conception of value. I then formalize and explore two conceptions: one context-sensitive, one multidimensional.
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  9. Path Independence and a Persistent Paradox of Population Ethics.Rush T. Stewart - forthcoming - Journal of Philosophy.
    In the face of an impossibility result, some assumption must be relaxed. The Mere Addition Paradox is an impossibility result in population ethics. Here, I explore substantially weakening the decision-theoretic assumptions involved. The central finding is that the Mere Addition Paradox persists even in the general framework of choice functions when we assume Path Independence as a minimal decision-theoretic constraint. Choice functions can be thought of either as generalizing the standard axiological assumption of a binary “betterness” relation, or as providing (...)
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  10. Are Spectrum Arguments Defused by Vagueness?Teruji Thomas - forthcoming - Australasian Journal of Philosophy.
    I consider paradoxical spectrum arguments involving transitive relations like 'better than'. I argue that, despite being formally different from sorites arguments, at least some spectrum arguments arise from vagueness, and that vagueness might often be the most natural diagnosis.
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  11. Parity, Moral Options, and the Weights of Reasons.Chris Tucker - forthcoming - Noûs.
    The (moral) permissibility of an act is determined by the relative weights of reasons, or so I assume. But how many weights does a reason have? Weight Monism is the idea that reasons have a single weight value. There is just the weight of reasons. The simplest versions hold that the weight of each reason is either weightier than, less weighty than, or equal to every other reason. We’ll see that this simple view leads to paradox in at least two (...)
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  12. Totalism Without Repugnance.Jacob M. Nebel - 2022 - In Jeff McMahan, Tim Campbell, James Goodrich & Ketan Ramakrishnan (eds.), Ethics and Existence: The Legacy of Derek Parfit. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 200-231.
    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 lives that are barely worth living whose existence would be better. This paper develops a theory of welfare aggregation—the lexical-threshold view—that allows totalism to avoid the repugnant (...)
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  13. On Evaluative Imprecision.Teruji Thomas - 2022 - In Jeff McMahan, Timothy Campbell, Ketan Ramakrishnan & Jimmy Goodrich (eds.), Ethics and Existence: The Legacy of Derek Parfit. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 478-497.
    This chapter presents several arguments related to Parfit's notion of evaluative imprecision and his imprecisionist lexical view of population ethics. After sketching Parfit's view, it argues that, contrary to Parfit, imprecision and lexicality are both compatible with thinking about goodness in terms of positions on a scale of value. Then, by examining the role that imprecision is meant to play in defusing spectrum argument, it suggests that imprecision should be identified with vagueness. Next, it argues that there is space for (...)
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  14. Can Every Option Be Rationally Impermissible?Chrisoula Andreou - 2021 - Erkenntnis 86 (6):1309-1317.
    Moving from simple to increasingly sophisticated candidate cases, I argue against the idea that there can be cases in which, due to no fault of the agent or to any ambiguity regarding how things will go depending on which option is selected, all the options available to an agent are rationally impermissible. Whether there are cases that fit this bill—qualifying as what I will label no-fault-or-ambiguity rational dilemmas—depends on the characteristics of conclusive reasons. My reasoning leads me to the view (...)
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  15. Five problems for the moral consensus about sins.Mike Ashfield - 2021 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 90 (3):157-189.
    A number of Christian theologians and philosophers have been critical of overly moralizing approaches to the doctrine of sin, but nearly all Christian thinkers maintain that moral fault is necessary or sufficient for sin to obtain. Call this the “Moral Consensus.” I begin by clarifying the relevance of impurities to the biblical cataloguing of sins. I then present four extensional problems for the Moral Consensus on sin, based on the biblical catalogue of sins: (1) moral over-demandingness, (2) agential unfairness, (3) (...)
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  16. Consequences of Comparability.Cian Dorr, Jacob M. Nebel & Jake Zuehl - 2021 - Philosophical Perspectives 35 (1):70-98.
    We defend three controversial claims about preference, credence, and choice. First, all agents (not just rational ones) have complete preferences. Second, all agents (again, not just rational ones) have real-valued credences in every proposition in which they are confident to any degree. Third, there is almost always some unique thing we ought to do, want, or believe.
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  17. Expected Utility Theory on Mixture Spaces Without the Completeness Axiom.David McCarthy, Kalle Mikkola & Joaquin Teruji Thomas - 2021 - arXiv:2102.06898 [Econ.TH].
    A mixture preorder is a preorder on a mixture space (such as a convex set) that is compatible with the mixing operation. In decision theoretic terms, it satisfies the central expected utility axiom of strong independence. We consider when a mixture preorder has a multi-representation that consists of real-valued, mixture-preserving functions. If it does, it must satisfy the mixture continuity axiom of Herstein and Milnor (1953). Mixture continuity is sufficient for a mixture-preserving multi-representation when the dimension of the mixture space (...)
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  18. Three Paradoxes of Supererogation.Daniel Muñoz - 2021 - Noûs 55 (3):699-716.
    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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  19. Respecting the Nonhuman Other: Individual Natural Otherness and the Case for Incommensurability of Moral Standing.Anna Wienhues - 2021 - Environmental Values.
    The concept of natural otherness can be found throughout the environmental ethics literature. Drawing on this concept, this article pursues two aims. For one, it argues for an account of individual natural otherness as stable difference as opposed to accounts of natural otherness that put more emphasis on independence for the purpose of differentiating individual natural otherness from the concept of wildness. Secondly, this account of natural otherness is engaged to argue for a particular way of theorising the moral standing (...)
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  20. Conceptualising Capabilities and Dimensions of Advantage as Needs.Benjamin Fardell - 2020 - Journal of Human Development and Capabilities 21.
    Amartya Sen’s critique of the concept of need and his case for the superiority of capability as a measure of advantage have been highly influential. However, Sen perpetuates a caricature. Needs are not necessarily mere instrumental resource requirements for the achievement of ends; the valuable ends of people’s lives can themselves constitute needs, as can freedoms. Indeed, these ideas are already present in basic needs theory. Moreover, official disavowals notwithstanding, expansive notions of need are implicitly present in certain important theories (...)
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  21. Utilitarianism with and Without Expected Utility.David McCarthy, Kalle Mikkola & Joaquin Teruji Thomas - 2020 - 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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  22. A Fixed-Population Problem for the Person-Affecting Restriction.Jacob M. Nebel - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (9):2779-2787.
    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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  23. 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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  24. Regret, Sub-Optimality, and Vagueness.Chrisoula Andreou - 2019 - In Richard Dietz (ed.), Vagueness and Rationality in Language Use and Cognition. Springer Verlag. pp. 49-59.
    This paper concerns regret, where regretting is to be understood, roughly, as mourning the loss of a forgone good. My ultimate aim is to add a new dimension to existing debate concerning the internal logic of regret by revealing the significance of certain sorts of cases—including, most interestingly, certain down-to-earth cases involving vague goals—in relation to the possibility of regret in continued endorsement cases. Intuitively, it might seem like, in continued endorsement cases, an agent’s regret must be tied to the (...)
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  25. 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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  26. 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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  27. Aggregation for Potentially Infinite Populations Without Continuity or Completeness.David McCarthy, Kalle M. Mikkola & J. Teruji Thomas - 2019 - arXiv:1911.00872 [Econ.TH].
    We present an abstract social aggregation theorem. Society, and each individual, has a preorder that may be interpreted as expressing values or beliefs. The preorders are allowed to violate both completeness and continuity, and the population is allowed to be infinite. The preorders are only assumed to be represented by functions with values in partially ordered vector spaces, and whose product has convex range. This includes all preorders that satisfy strong independence. Any Pareto indifferent social preorder is then shown to (...)
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  28. Asymmetries in the Value of Existence.Jacob M. Nebel - 2019 - Philosophical Perspectives 33 (1):126-145.
    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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  29. On the Limits of the Precautionary Principle.H. Orri Stefansson - 2019 - Risk Analysis 39 (6):1204-1222.
    The Precautionary Principle (PP) is an influential principle of risk management. It has been widely introduced into environmental legislation, and it plays an important role in most international environmental agreements. Yet, there is little consensus on precisely how to understand and formulate the principle. In this paper I prove some impossibility results for two plausible formulations of the PP as a decision-rule. These results illustrate the difficulty in making the PP consistent with the acceptance of any trade-offs between catastrophic risks (...)
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  30. Skepticism About Ought Simpliciter.Derek Clayton Baker - 2018 - Oxford Studies in Metaethics 13.
    There are many different oughts. There is a moral ought, a prudential ought, an epistemic ought, the legal ought, the ought of etiquette, and so on. These oughts can prescribe incompatible actions. What I morally ought to do may be different from what I self-interestedly ought to do. Philosophers have claimed that these conflicts are resolved by an authoritative ought, or by facts about what one ought to do simpliciter or all-things-considered. However, the only coherent notion of an ought simpliciter (...)
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  31. Consideraciones sobre la fuerza de las razones en contra de dañar.Santiago Truccone Borgogno - 2018 - Critica 50 (149):31-57.
    En este trabajo realizaré afirmaciones sobre la fuerza de las razones en contra de dañar. Distinguiré diferentes tipos de estados de daño y de acciones dañosas. Explicaré qué tipo de estado de daño es más grave y qué tipo de acción dañosa genera razones más fuertes en contra de dañar. Finalmente compararé la fuerza de las razones en contra de dañar derivadas tanto de los estados de daño como de los distintos tipos de acciones dañosas, para establecer una regla de (...)
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  32. Infinite Value and the Best of All Possible Worlds.Nevin Climenhaga - 2018 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 97 (2):367-392.
    A common argument for atheism runs as follows: God would not create a world worse than other worlds he could have created instead. However, if God exists, he could have created a better world than this one. Therefore, God does not exist. In this paper I challenge the second premise of this argument. I argue that if God exists, our world will continue without end, with God continuing to create value-bearers, and sustaining and perfecting the value-bearers he has already created. (...)
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  33. Does the Collapsing Principle Rule Out Borderline Cases?Johan E. Gustafsson - 2018 - Utilitas 30 (4):483-492.
    If ‘F’ is a predicate, then ‘Fer than’ or ‘more F than’ is a corresponding comparative relational predicate. Concerning such comparative relations, John Broome’s Collapsing Principle states that, for any x and y, if it is false that y is Fer than x and not false that x is Fer than y, then it is true that x is Fer than y. Luke Elson has recently put forward two alleged counter-examples to this principle, allegedly showing that it yields contradictions if (...)
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  34. Incommensurability and Vagueness in Spectrum Arguments: Options for Saving Transitivity of Betterness.Toby Handfield & Wlodek Rabinowicz - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (9):2373-2387.
    The spectrum argument purports to show that the better-than relation is not transitive, and consequently that orthodox value theory is built on dubious foundations. The argument works by constructing a sequence of increasingly less painful but more drawn-out experiences, such that each experience in the spectrum is worse than the previous one, yet the final experience is better than the experience with which the spectrum began. Hence the betterness relation admits cycles, threatening either transitivity or asymmetry of the relation. This (...)
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  35. Continuity and Completeness of Strongly Independent Preorders.David McCarthy & Kalle Mikkola - 2018 - Mathematical Social Sciences 93:141-145.
    A strongly independent preorder on a possibly in finite dimensional convex set that satisfi es two of the following conditions must satisfy the third: (i) the Archimedean continuity condition; (ii) mixture continuity; and (iii) comparability under the preorder is an equivalence relation. In addition, if the preorder is nontrivial (has nonempty asymmetric part) and satisfi es two of the following conditions, it must satisfy the third: (i') a modest strengthening of the Archimedean condition; (ii') mixture continuity; and (iii') completeness. Applications (...)
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  36. The Good, the Bad, and the Transitivity of Better Than.Jacob M. Nebel - 2018 - Noûs 52 (4):874-899.
    The Rachels–Temkin spectrum arguments against the transitivity of better than involve good or bad experiences, lives, or outcomes that vary along multiple dimensions—e.g., duration and intensity of pleasure or pain. This paper presents variations on these arguments involving combinations of good and bad experiences, which have even more radical implications than the violation of transitivity. These variations force opponents of transitivity to conclude that something good is worse than something that isn’t good, on pain of rejecting the good altogether. That (...)
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  37. Sacrificing Value.Lisa Tessman - 2018 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 26 (3):376-398.
    ABSTRACTWhen is sacrifice – and particularly self-sacrifice – called for? This question turns out to be difficult to answer, for it tends to arise when values conflict, and hence the answer to it depends on how conflicts of values are to be resolved. If values are constructed, and if there is no single right way to construct them or prioritize them when they conflict, though there are identifiable ways in which the construction of values can go wrong, we may be (...)
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  38. Ought-Onomy and Mental Health Ethics: From "Respect for Personal Autonomy" to "Preservation of Person-in-Community" in African Ethics.Samuel J. Ujewe - 2018 - Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Psychology 25 (4):45-59.
    Those whom the gods wish to destroy, they first make mad, says a Nigerian proverb. These words of wisdom re-echo in traditional approaches to mental health ethics in sub-Saharan Africa. Among many cultures in Nigeria, it is customary to subject persons with mental health illness, especially those who present with violent behavior, to physical restraint and beatings. The belief is that such subjugation could restore mental health in the early stages of madness. Physical restraint and beatings only form a part (...)
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  39. Incommensurability as Vagueness: A Burden-Shifting Argument.Luke Elson - 2017 - Theoria 83 (4):341-363.
    Two options are ‘incommensurate’ when neither is better than the other, but they are not equally good. Typically, we will say that one option is better in some ways, and the other in others, but neither is better ‘all things considered’. It is tempting to think that incommensurability is vagueness—that it is indeterminate which is better—but this ‘vagueness view’ of incommensurability has not proven popular. I set out the vagueness view and its implications in more detail, and argue that it (...)
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  40. On the Norms of Visual Argument: A Case for Normative Non-Revisionism.David Godden - 2017 - Argumentation 31 (2):395-431.
    Visual arguments can seem to require unique, autonomous evaluative norms, since their content seems irreducible to, and incommensurable with, that of verbal arguments. Yet, assertions of the ineffability of the visual, or of visual-verbal incommensurability, seem to preclude counting putatively irreducible visual content as functioning argumentatively. By distinguishing two notions of content, informational and argumentative, I contend that arguments differing in informational content can have equivalent argumentative content, allowing the same argumentative norms to be rightly applied in their evaluation.
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  41. Representation of Strongly Independent Preorders by Sets of Scalar-Valued Functions.David McCarthy, Kalle Mikkola & Teruji Thomas - 2017 - MPRA Paper No. 79284.
    We provide conditions under which an incomplete strongly independent preorder on a convex set X can be represented by a set of mixture preserving real-valued functions. We allow X to be infi nite dimensional. The main continuity condition we focus on is mixture continuity. This is sufficient for such a representation provided X has countable dimension or satisfi es a condition that we call Polarization.
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  42. The Fitting-Attitude Analysis of Value Relations and the Preferences Vs. Value Judgements Objection.Mauro Rossi - 2017 - Economics and Philosophy 33 (2):287-311.
    According to Wlodek Rabinowicz's (2008) fitting-attitude analysis of value relations, two items are on a par if and only if it is both permissible to strictly prefer one to the other and permissible to have the opposite strict preference. Rabinowicz’s account is subject, however, to one important objection: if strict preferences involve betterness judgements, then his analysis contrasts with the intuitive understanding of parity. In this paper, I examine Rabinowicz’s three responses to this objection and argue that they do not (...)
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  43. What is Wrong with Nimbys? Renewable Energy, Landscape Impacts and Incommensurable Values.Anne Schwenkenbecher - 2017 - Environmental Values 26 (6):711-732.
    Local opposition to infrastructure projects implementing renewable energy (RE) such as wind farms is often strong even if state-wide support for RE is strikingly high. The slogan “Not In My BackYard” (NIMBY) has become synonymous for this kind of protest. This paper revisits the question of what is wrong with NIMBYs about RE projects and how to best address them. I will argue that local opponents to wind farm (and other RE) developments do not necessarily fail to contribute their fair (...)
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  44. Midlife: A Philosophical Guide.Kieran Setiya - 2017 - Princeton University Press.
    Philosophical wisdom and practical advice for overcoming the problems of middle age How can you reconcile yourself with the lives you will never lead, with possibilities foreclosed, and with nostalgia for lost youth? How can you accept the failings of the past, the sense of futility in the tasks that consume the present, and the prospect of death that blights the future? In this self-help book with a difference, Kieran Setiya confronts the inevitable challenges of adulthood and middle age, showing (...)
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  45. Ethics and Uncertainty: The Guest Editor’s Introduction.Tomasz Żuradzki - 2017 - Diametros 53:1-5.
    Until very recently, normative theorizing in ethics was frequently conducted without even mentioning uncertainty. Just a few years ago, Sven Ove Hansson described this state of affairs with the slogan: “Ethics still lives in a Newtonian world.” In the new Oxford Handbook of Philosophy and Probability, David McCarthy writes that “mainstream moral philosophy has not been much concerned with probability,” understanding probability as “the best-known tool for thinking about uncertainty.” This special predilection for certainty in ethics was surprising since most (...)
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  46. Parity: An Intuitive Case.Ruth Chang - 2016 - Ratio 29 (4):395-411.
    In other work I have argued that items can be on a par, where being on a par is a fourth, basic, sui generis value relation beyond the usual trichotomy of ‘better than’, ‘worse than’, and ‘equally good’. In this paper, I aim to marshal non-technical, intuitive arguments for this view. First, I try to cast doubt on the leading source of intuitive resistance to parity, the conviction that if two items are comparable, one must be better than the other, (...)
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  47. Vague Comparisons.Cristian Constantinescu - 2016 - Ratio 29 (4):357-377.
    Some comparisons are hard. How should we think about such comparisons? According to John Broome, we should think about them in terms of vagueness. But the vagueness account has remained unpopular thus far. Here I try to bolster it by clarifying the notion of comparative vagueness that lies at its heart.
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  48. Introduction.Luke Elson - 2016 - Ratio 29 (4):353-356.
    A brief, opinionated summary of the papers in the Ratio special edition on incommensurability and vagueness.
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  49. Money Pumps, Incompleteness, and Indeterminacy.Johan E. Gustafsson - 2016 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 92 (1):60-72.
    In an alleged counter-example to the completeness of rational preferences, a career as a clarinettist is compared with a career in law. It seems reasonable to neither want to judge that the law career is at least as preferred as the clarinet career nor want to judge that the clarinet career is at least as preferred as the law career. The two standard interpretations of examples of this kind are, first, that the examples show that preferences are rationally permitted to (...)
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  50. Essentially Comparative Value Does Not Threaten Transitivity.Toby Handfield - 2016 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 5 (1):3-12.
    The essentially comparative conception of value entails that the value of a state of affairs does not depend solely upon features intrinsic to the state of affairs, but also upon extrinsic features, such as the set of feasible alternatives. It has been argued that this conception of value gives us reason to abandon the transitivity of the better than relation. This paper shows that the support for intransitivity derived from this conception of value is very limited. On its most plausible (...)
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