Population Ethics

Edited by Johan E. Gustafsson (University of York, Institute for Futures Studies, University of Texas at Austin)
About this topic
Summary This category covers two major issues concerning the ethics of future persons: (1) Population axiology, or what principles determine the value of a population.  For example, does an additional happy life make a positive contribution to the value of the world, all else equal?  (2) The non-identity problem, and the moral evaluation of actions that determine who will exist in the future.
Key works Parfit 1984 introduced both the non-identity problem and the fundamental problems of population axiology.  Much subsequent discussion has concerned whether we should accept the repugnant conclusion, or whether there is any plausible way to avoid it.  Arrhenius 2000 offers an impossibility theorem, showing that several prima facie plausible axioms cannot be jointly held.  Such difficulties have led several philosophers to embrace the repugnant conclusion — Huemer 2008 is a representative example.  Others, following Hurka 1982, have rejected the mere-addition principle: the idea that adding a happy life cannot (all else equal) make a population worse.
Introductions Parfit 2004 offers a streamlined introduction to the problems of population axiology. Roberts 2011 has an accessible discussion of the intuitive "Asymmetry" according to which we are required not to bring into existence miserable lives, but are permitted not to bring into existence happy lives.
Related

Contents
363 found
Order:
1 — 50 / 363
  1. Friendships of Scale: Applying Scaling Laws to Interpersonal Relationships.Walter Barta - manuscript
    Here we will argue that different kinds of friendships follow different kinds of scaling laws. First, we will review Aristotle’s three types of friendship. Second, we will review three different types of scaling laws. Third, we will show how the three types of friendship roughly map on to the three types of scaling laws. After this, we will discuss some of the consequences of the scaling laws of friendship. We hope that the use of these abstract scaling laws to describe (...)
    Remove from this list   Direct download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark  
  2. Indeterminate Dualism against Repugnance.Walter Barta - manuscript
    An indeterminate version of Henry Sidgwick’s “Dualism of Practical Reason” may offer a solution to Derek Parfit’s “Repugnant Conclusion”. Here we will outline the problem of Sidgwick’s Dualism and how to resolve it within the framework of practical reason and the problem of Parfit’s Repugnance and why it is irresoluble within the framework of pure utilitarianism. Then we will argue how Sidgwick’s Dualism, under certain formulations of indeterminacy, specifically under those Indeterminacy Views advanced by David Phillips (and others), implies a (...)
    Remove from this list   Direct download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark  
  3. Sorites arguments, a myth of genius, and overpopulation.Terence Rajivan Edward - manuscript
    This paper responds to Theron Pummer’s distinction between Sorites arguments and repugnant conclusion arguments by presenting a Sorites overpopulation argument. Also I present a Sorites argument in favour of myths of genius.
    Remove from this list   Direct download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark  
  4. The repugnant conclusion can be avoided with moral intuitions intact: A lesson in order.Steven Kerr - manuscript
    The repugnant conclusion poses a conundrum in population ethics that has evaded satisfactory solution for four decades. In this article, I show that the repugnant conclusion can be avoided without sacrificing key moral intuitions. This is achieved using non-Archimedean orders, which admit the possibility of pairs of goods for which no amount of one is better than a single unit of the other. I show that with minimal assumptions, not only are such goods sensible, they are compulsory. I show that (...)
    Remove from this list   Direct download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark  
  5. Do not go gentle: why the Asymmetry does not support anti-natalism.Andreas Mogensen - manuscript
    According to the Asymmetry, adding lives that are not worth living to the population makes the outcome pro tanto worse, but adding lives that are well worth living to the population does not make the outcome pro tanto better. It has been argued that the Asymmetry entails the desirability of human extinction. However, this argument rests on a misunderstanding of the kind of neutrality attributed to the addition of lives worth living by the Asymmetry. A similar misunderstanding is shown to (...)
    Remove from this list   Direct download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark  
  6. The weight of suffering.Andreas Mogensen - manuscript
    How should we weigh suffering against happiness? This paper highlights the existence of an argument from intuitively plausible axiological principles to the striking conclusion that in comparing different populations, there exists some depth of suffering that cannot be compensated for by any measure of well-being. In addition to a number of structural principles, the argument relies on two key premises. The first is the contrary of the so-called Reverse Repugnant Conclusion. The second is a principle according to which the addition (...)
    Remove from this list   Direct download (2 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark  
  7. Share the Sugar.Christian Tarsney, Harvey Lederman & Dean Spears - manuscript
    We provide a general argument against value incomparability, based on a new style of impossibility result. In particular, we show that, against plausible background assumptions, value incomparability creates an incompatibility between two very plausible principles for ranking lotteries: a weak "negative dominance" principle (to the effect that Lottery 1 can be better than Lottery 2 only if some possible outcome of Lottery 1 is better than some possible outcome of Lottery 2) and a weak form of ex ante Pareto (to (...)
    Remove from this list   Direct download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark  
  8. A Non-Identity Dilemma for Person-Affecting Views.Elliott Thornley - manuscript
    Person-affecting views in population ethics state that (in cases where all else is equal) we’re permitted but not required to create people who would enjoy good lives. In this paper, I present an argument against every possible variety of person-affecting view. The argument takes the form of a dilemma. Narrow person-affecting views must embrace at least one of three implausible verdicts in a case that I call ‘Expanded Non-Identity.’ Wide person-affecting views run into trouble in a case that I call (...)
    Remove from this list   Direct download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark  
  9. Chaos, ad infinitum.Hayden Wilkinson - manuscript
    Our universe is both chaotic and (most likely) infinite in space and time. But it is within this setting that we must make moral decisions. This presents problems. The first: due to our universe's chaotic nature, our actions often have long-lasting, unpredictable effects; and this means we typically cannot say which of two actions will turn out best in the long run. The second problem: due to the universe's infinite dimensions, and infinite population therein, we cannot compare outcomes by simply (...)
    Remove from this list  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   4 citations  
  10. Non-Additive Axiologies in Large Worlds.Christian J. Tarsney & Teruji Thomas - 2020
    Is the overall value of a world just the sum of values contributed by each value-bearing entity in that world? Additively separable axiologies (like total utilitarianism, prioritarianism, and critical level views) say 'yes', but non-additive axiologies (like average utilitarianism, rank-discounted utilitarianism, and variable value views) say 'no'. This distinction is practically important: additive axiologies support 'arguments from astronomical scale' which suggest (among other things) that it is overwhelmingly important for humanity to avoid premature extinction and ensure the existence of a (...)
    Remove from this list   Direct download (2 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   3 citations  
  11. The moral status of potential people.Gustaf Arrhenius - manuscript
    It has been known for quite a while that traditional ethical theories have very counterintuitive and paradoxical implications for questions concerning procreation and our moral duties to future generations. Classical Utilitarianism, for example, seems to imply that we have a moral duty to procreate and that we should try to have as many off-springs as possible. More disturbingly, it implies Derek Parfit’s well-known Repugnant Conclusion.
    Remove from this list   Direct download (2 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   3 citations  
  12. Is Extinction Risk Mitigation Uniquely Cost-Effective? Not in Standard Population Models.Gustav Alexandrie & Maya Eden - forthcoming - In Jacob Barrett, Hilary Greaves & David Thorstad (eds.), Essays on Longtermism. Oxford University Press.
    What socially beneficial causes should philanthropists prioritize if they give equal ethical weight to the welfare of current and future generations? Many have argued that, because human extinction would result in a permanent loss of all future generations, extinction risk mitigation should be the top priority given this impartial stance. Using standard models of population dynamics, we challenge this conclusion. We first introduce a theoretical framework for quantifying undiscounted cost-effectiveness over the long term. We then show that standard population models (...)
    Remove from this list   Direct download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   2 citations  
  13. Population Ethics under Risk.Gustaf Arrhenius & H. Orri Stefánsson - forthcoming - Social Choice and Welfare.
    Population axiology concerns how to evaluate populations in terms of their moral goodness, that is, how to order populations by the relations “is better than” and “is as good as”. The task 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. So far, this field has largely ignored issues about uncertainty and the conditions that have been discussed mostly pertain (...)
    Remove from this list   Direct download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   5 citations  
  14. Non-Archimedean population axiologies.Calvin Baker - forthcoming - Economics and Philosophy.
    Non-Archimedean population axiologies – also known as lexical views – claim (i) that a sufficient number of lives at a very high positive welfare level would be better than any number of lives at a very low positive welfare level and/or (ii) that a sufficient number of lives at a very low negative welfare level would be worse than any number of lives at a very high negative welfare level. Such axiologies are popular because they can avoid the (Negative) Repugnant (...)
    Remove from this list   Direct download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark  
  15. Does Climate Change Policy Depend Importantly on Population Ethics? Deflationary Responses to the Challenges of Population Ethics for Public Policy.Mark Budolfson, Gustaf Arrhenius & Dean Spears - forthcoming - In Philosophy and Climate Change. Oxford University Press. pp. 111-136.
    Remove from this list   Direct download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   2 citations  
  16. Why prevent human extinction?James Fanciullo - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
    Many of us think human extinction would be a very bad thing, and that we have moral reasons to prevent it. But there is disagreement over what would make extinction so bad, and thus over what grounds these moral reasons. Recently, several theorists have argued that our reasons to prevent extinction stem not just from the value of the welfare of future lives, but also from certain additional values relating to the existence of humanity itself (for example, humanity's “final” value, (...)
    Remove from this list   Direct download (4 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark  
  17. Discounting future health.Hilary Greaves - forthcoming - In Norheim Emanuel Jamison Johansson Millum Otterson Ruger and Verguet (ed.), Global health priority-setting: Cost-effectiveness and beyond. Oxford University Press.
    In carrying out cost-benefit or cost-effective analysis, a discount rate should be applied to some kinds of future benefits and costs. It is controversial, though, whether future health is in this class. I argue that one of the standard arguments for discounting (from diminishing marginal returns) is inapplicable to the case of health, while another (favouring a pure rate of time preference) is unsound in any case. However, there are two other reasons that might support a positive discount rate for (...)
    Remove from this list   Direct download (2 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   1 citation  
  18. Moral uncertainty about population ethics.Hilary Greaves & Toby Ord - forthcoming - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy.
    Given the deep disagreement surrounding population axiology, one should remain uncertain about which theory is best. However, this uncertainty need not leave one neutral about which acts are better or worse. We show that as the number of lives at stake grows, the Expected Moral Value approach to axiological uncertainty systematically pushes one towards choosing the option preferred by the Total and Critical Level views, even if one’s credence in those theories is low.
    Remove from this list   Direct download (2 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   2 citations  
  19. Prudential Longtermism.Johan E. Gustafsson & Petra Kosonen - forthcoming - In Jacob Barrett, Hilary Greaves & David Thorstad (eds.), Essays on Longtermism. Oxford University Press.
    According to Longtermism, our acts’ expected influence on the expected value of the world is mainly determined by their effects in the far future. There is, given total utilitarianism, a straightforward argument for Longtermism due to the enormous number of people that might exist in the future, but this argument does not work on person-affecting views. In this paper, we will argue that these views might also lead to Longtermism if Prudential Longtermism is true. Prudential Longtermism holds for a person (...)
    Remove from this list   Direct download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   3 citations  
  20. An Identity Crisis in Philosophy.Samuel Kahn - forthcoming - Argumenta.
    The following seems to be a truism in modern day philosophy: No agent can have had other parents (IDENTITY). IDENTITY shows up in discussions of moral luck, parenting, gene editing, and population ethics. In this paper, I challenge IDENTITY. I do so by showing that the most plausible arguments that can be made in favor of IDENTITY do not withstand critical scrutiny. The paper is divided into four sections. In the first, I document the prevalence of IDENTITY. In the second, (...)
    Remove from this list   Direct download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   1 citation  
  21. Impossible Ethics: Do Population Ethical Impossibility Results Support Moral Skepticism and/or Anti-Realism?Victor Moberger - forthcoming - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly.
    In this paper, I discuss two different metaethical challenges based on population ethical impossibility results. According to the anti-realist challenge, the results pose a serious threat to the existence of objective moral facts. According to the skeptical challenge, the results pose a serious threat to the reliability of our moral intuitions. My aim is to systematically explore and evaluate these challenges. In addition to clarifying the issues, I argue that population ethical impossibility results do not in fact support any anti-realist (...)
    Remove from this list   Direct download (3 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark  
  22. Extensive Measurement in Social Choice.Jacob M. Nebel - forthcoming - Theoretical Economics.
    Extensive measurement is the standard measurement-theoretic approach for constructing a ratio scale. It involves the comparison of objects that can be concatenated in an additively representable way. This paper studies the implications of extensively measurable welfare for social choice theory. We do this in two frameworks: an Arrovian framework with a fixed population and no interpersonal comparisons, and a generalized framework with variable populations and full interpersonal comparability. In each framework we use extensive measurement to introduce novel domain restrictions, independence (...)
    Remove from this list   Direct download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark  
  23. Resources and the acceptability of the Repugnant Conclusion.Stephen J. Schmidt - forthcoming - Theoria. An International Journal for Theory, History and Foundations of Science.
    Parfit’s Repugnant Conclusion argues, against intuition, that for any world A, another world Z with higher population and minimal well-being is better. That intuition is incorrect because the argument has not considered resources that support well-being. Z must have many more resources supporting well-being than A does. Z is repugnant because it spreads those resources among too many people; another world with Z’s resources and fewer people, if available, would be far superior. But Z is still better than A; it (...)
    Remove from this list   Direct download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark  
  24. What calibrating variable-value population ethics suggests.Dean Spears & H. Orri Stefánsson - forthcoming - Economics and Philosophy:1-12.
    Variable-Value axiologies avoid Parfit’s Repugnant Conclusion while satisfying some weak instances of the Mere Addition principle. We apply calibration methods to two leading members of the family of Variable-Value views conditional upon: first, a very weak instance of Mere Addition and, second, some plausible empirical assumptions about the size and welfare of the intertemporal world population. We find that such facts calibrate these two Variable-Value views to be nearly totalist, and therefore imply conclusions that should seem repugnant to anyone who (...)
    Remove from this list   Direct download (3 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark  
  25. 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 (...)
    Remove from this list   Direct download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark  
  26. The Monstrous Conclusion.Luca Stroppa - forthcoming - Synthese.
    This paper introduces the Monstrous Conclusion, according to which, for any population, there is a better population consisting of just one individual (the Monster). The Monstrous Conclusion is deeply counterintuitive. I defend a version of Prioritarianism as a particularly promising population axiology that does not imply the Monstrous Conclusion. According to this version of Prioritarianism, which I call Asymptotic Prioritarianism, there is diminishing marginal moral importance of individual welfare that can get close to, but never quite reach, some upper limit. (...)
    Remove from this list   Direct download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark  
  27. Well-Being, Procreative Reasons, and Normative Background Conditions.Ramiel Tamras - forthcoming - Analysis.
    In this paper, I argue that we can get surprisingly far in vindicating common intuitions about population ethics without assuming that the well-being of those we could create gives us moral reasons for or against creating them. According to the account I sketch, rather than generating procreative reasons, facts about our potential offspring’s well-being serve as normative background conditions—they enable, disable, or modify the strength of independent reasons we might have to procreate. It is unclear whether the account can capture (...)
    Remove from this list  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark  
  28. Egyptians, Aliens, and Okies: Against the Sum of Averages.Christian Tarsney, Michael Geruso & Dean Spears - forthcoming - Utilitas:1-7.
    Grill (2023) defends the Sum of Averages View (SAV), on which the value of a population is found by summing the average lifetime welfare of each generation or birth cohort. A major advantage of SAV, according to Grill, is that it escapes the Egyptology objection to average utilitarianism. But, we argue, SAV escapes only the most literal understanding of this objection, since it still allows the value of adding a life to depend on facts about other, intuitively irrelevant lives. Moreover, (...)
    Remove from this list   Direct download (3 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark  
  29. Longtermism in an infinite world.Christian Tarsney & Hayden Wilkinson - forthcoming - In Jacob Barrett, Hilary Greaves & David Thorstad (eds.), Essays on Longtermism. Oxford University Press.
    The case for longtermism depends on the vast potential scale of the future. But that same vastness also threatens to undermine the case for longtermism: If the universe as a whole, or the future in particular, contain infinite quantities of value and/or disvalue, then many of the theories of value that support longtermism (e.g., risk-neutral total utilitarianism) seem to imply that none of our available options are better than any other. If so, then even apparently vast effects on the far (...)
    Remove from this list   Direct download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   1 citation  
  30. Critical-Set Views, Biographical Identity, and the Long Term.Elliott Thornley - forthcoming - Australasian Journal of Philosophy.
    Critical-set views avoid the Repugnant Conclusion by subtracting some constant from the welfare score of each life in a population. These views are thus sensitive to facts about biographical identity: identity between lives. In this paper, I argue that questions of biographical identity give us reason to reject critical-set views and embrace the total view. I end with a practical implication. If we shift our credences towards the total view, we should also shift our efforts towards ensuring that humanity survives (...)
    Remove from this list   Direct download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark  
  31. Existential Risk, Astronomical Waste, and the Reasonableness of a Pure Time Preference for Well-Being.S. J. Beard & Patrick Kaczmarek - 2024 - The Monist 107 (2):157-175.
    In this paper, we argue that our moral concern for future well-being should reduce over time due to important practical considerations about how humans interact with spacetime. After surveying several of these considerations (around equality, special duties, existential contingency, and overlapping moral concern) we develop a set of core principles that can both explain their moral significance and highlight why this is inherently bound up with our relationship with spacetime. These relate to the equitable distribution of (1) moral concern in (...)
    Remove from this list   Direct download (3 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark  
  32. A Dissolution of the Repugnant Conclusion.Roberto Fumagalli - 2024 - Journal of Applied Philosophy 41 (1):85-105.
    This article articulates and defends a dissolution of the so-called repugnant conclusion, which focuses on the notion of life worth living figuring both in Parfit's formulation of the repugnant conclusion and in most responses to such a conclusion. The proposed dissolution demonstrates that the notion of life worth living is plagued by multiple ambiguities and that these ambiguities, in turn, hamper meaningful debate about both the issue of whether the repugnant conclusion can be avoided and the issue of whether the (...)
    Remove from this list   Direct download (2 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark  
  33. Concepts of Existential Catastrophe.Hilary Greaves - 2024 - The Monist 107 (2):109-129.
    The notion of existential catastrophe is increasingly appealed to in discussion of risk management around emerging technologies, but it is not completely clear what this notion amounts to. Here, I provide an opinionated survey of the space of plausibly useful definitions of existential catastrophe. Inter alia, I discuss: whether to define existential catastrophe in ex post or ex ante terms, whether an ex ante definition should be in terms of loss of expected value or loss of potential, and what kind (...)
    Remove from this list   Direct download (3 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark  
  34. Risk, Non-Identity, and Extinction.Kacper Kowalczyk & Nikhil Venkatesh - 2024 - The Monist 107 (2):146–156.
    This paper examines a recent argument in favour of strong precautionary action—possibly including working to hasten human extinction—on the basis of a decision-theoretic view that accommodates the risk-attitudes of all affected while giving more weight to the more risk-averse attitudes. First, we dispute the need to take into account other people’s attitudes towards risk at all. Second we argue that a version of the non-identity problem undermines the case for doing so in the context of future people. Lastly, we suggest (...)
    Remove from this list   Direct download (4 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark  
  35. Should longtermists recommend hastening extinction rather than delaying it?Richard Pettigrew - 2024 - The Monist 107 (2):130-145.
    Longtermism is the view that the most urgent global priorities, and those to which we should devote the largest portion of our resources, are those that focus on (i) ensuring a long future for humanity, and perhaps sentient or intelligent life more generally, and (ii) improving the quality of the lives that inhabit that long future. While it is by no means the only one, the argument most commonly given for this conclusion is that these interventions have greater expected goodness (...)
    Remove from this list   Direct download (4 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   2 citations  
  36. Cómo no evitar la conclusión muy repugnante.Mat Rozas - 2024 - Análisis Filosófico 1.
    En ética de poblaciones, se apela a ciertas perspectivas léxicas y de nivel crítico totalistas para evitar la conclusión repugnante. Dado que la conclusión muy repugnante es una condición de adecuación más débil, podría pensarse que estas perspectivas también nos permitirán evitar esta conclusión. En este artículo argumento que no es así. Primero, muestro que estas perspectivas léxicas no evitan la conclusión muy repugnante. Después, muestro que las perspectivas de rango crítico totalistas tampoco la evitan. Finalmente, aclaro qué perspectivas nos (...)
    Remove from this list   Direct download (2 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark  
  37. Thresholds, critical levels, and generalized sufficientarian principles.Walter Bossert, Susumu Cato & Kohei Kamaga - 2023 - Economic Theory 75 (4):1099–1139.
    This paper provides an axiomatic analysis of sufficientarian social evaluation. Sufficientarianism has emerged as an increasingly important notion of distributive justice. We propose a class of principles that we label generalized critical-level sufficientarian orderings. The distinguishing feature of our new class is that its members exhibit constant critical levels of well-being that are allowed to differ from the threshold of sufficiency. Our basic axiom assigns priority to those below the threshold, a property that is shared by numerous other sufficientarian approaches. (...)
    Remove from this list   Direct download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   1 citation  
  38. Trade-off between repugnant and sadistic conclusions under the separability of people’s lives.Susumu Cato - 2023 - In Adachi Yukio & Usami Makoto (eds.), Governance for a Sustainable Future. Springer. pp. 93–108.
    Population axiology includes two major arguments. The first is the repugnant conclusion, which was originally formulated by Derek Parfit to criticize total utilitarianism. The second is the sadistic conclusion. In this study, I demonstrate that no additively separable principle can avoid both repugnant and sadistic conclusions if individual moral values have no upper bound. This impossibility holds not only for utilitarian principles but also for any population principles that guarantee the separability of people’s well-being. I emphasize the importance of examining (...)
    Remove from this list   Direct download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark  
  39. A new result on the impossibility of avoiding both the repugnant and sadistic conclusions.Susumu Cato & Ko Harada - 2023 - Economics Letters 232:111306.
    This paper establishes a new impossibility result for welfaristic evaluations when the population varies. We consider a weak version of the repugnant conclusion instead of the commonly used version. It is shown that if a population principle satisfying two reasonable properties avoids the sadistic conclusion, then the weak repugnant conclusion must hold. We use a general variable-population setting where the identities of individuals can matter.
    Remove from this list   Direct download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark  
  40. Too Easy, Too Good, Too Late?Alexander Dietz - 2023 - Philosophers' Imprint 23 (1).
    Plausibly, one important part of a good life is doing work that makes a contribution, or a positive difference to the world. In this paper, however, I explore contribution pessimism, the view that people will not always have adequate opportunities for making contributions. I distinguish between three interestingly different and at least initially plausible reasons why this view might be true: in slogan form, things might become too easy, they might become too good, or we might be too late. Now, (...)
    Remove from this list   Direct download (3 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark  
  41. Measuring Social Welfare by Proximity to an Optimum Population.Karin Enflo - 2023 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 104 (1):217-249.
    This essay introduces a new type of measure of social welfare, where populations are evaluated by their resemblance to an optimum population, which is an (in principle) possible population with the highest degree of social welfare, relative to some circumstances. Here it is argued to be the largest possible population where everyone fares maximally well. The new measure is responsive to quality of welfare, equality of welfare, and the number of people. It satisfies dominance and negative monotonicity, and it avoids (...)
    Remove from this list   Direct download (3 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark  
  42. Unbounded Utility.Zachary Goodsell - 2023 - Dissertation, University of Southern California
  43. Procreation vs. Consumption.Kalle Grill - 2023 - Environmental Ethics 45 (3):265-286.
    Recently, it has been argued by several scholars that we have moral reasons to limit our procreation due to the harmful environmental consequences it entails. These calls for procreative restraint are typically made in relation to other lifestyle choices, such as minimizing driving and air travel. In such comparisons, it is assumed that the environmental impact of procreation encompasses the lifetime consumption of the child created, and potentially that of further descendants. After an overview of these arguments, I go on (...)
    Remove from this list   Direct download (4 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark  
  44. The Sum of Averages: An Egyptology-Proof Average View.Kalle Grill - 2023 - Utilitas 35 (2):103-118.
    Contemporary population ethics is dominated by views that aggregate by summing, whether of well-being or of some construct based on well-being. In contrast, average well-being is generally considered axiologically irrelevant. To many of us, however, the number of future people does not seem important, as long as it is sufficient to enable rich and varied life experiences, and as long as the population continues throughout time. It therefore seems relatively plausible to aggregate future well-being by averaging. In particular, it seems (...)
    Remove from this list   Direct download (3 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   2 citations  
  45. The Interpersonal Comparative View of Welfare: Its Merits and Flaws.Jonas Harney - 2023 - The Journal of Ethics 27 (3):369-391.
    According to the person-affecting view, the ethics of welfare should be cashed out in terms of how the individuals are affected. While the narrow version fails to solve the non-identity problem, the wide version is subject to the repugnant conclusion. A middle view promises to do better – the Interpersonal Comparative View of Welfare (ICV). It modifies the narrow view by abstracting away from individuals’ identities to account for interpersonal gains and losses. The paper assesses ICV’s merits and flaws. ICV (...)
    Remove from this list   Direct download (6 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark  
  46. How to Assess Claims in Multiple-Option Choice Sets.Jonas Harney & Jake Khawaja - 2023 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 51 (1):60-92.
    Particular persons have claims against being made worse off than they could have been. The literature, however, has focused primarily on only two-option cases; yet, these cases fail to capture all of the morally relevant factors, especially when a person’s existence is in question. This paper explores how to assess claims in multiple-option choice sets. We scrutinize the only extant proposal, offered by Michael Otsuka, which we call the Weakening View. In light of its problems, we develop an alternative: the (...)
    Remove from this list   Direct download (5 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark  
  47. A Kantian critique of Benatar's argument from the cosmic perspective.Byeong D. Lee - 2023 - Philosophical Forum 54 (3):185-198.
    Benatar argues that the absence of cosmic meaning is part of the reason why our lives are so bad that we had better not procreate. The goal of this paper is to argue against this claim from a Kantian point of view. For this goal, I argue first that the fact that human life is a product of blind evolution is not a reason for justifying that our lives are overall bad, mainly on the grounds that the concepts of good (...)
    Remove from this list   Direct download (3 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark  
  48. The procreation asymmetry asymmetry.Adam Lerner - 2023 - Philosophical Studies 180 (4):1169-1195.
    According to the procreation asymmetry, we have strong pro tanto reason to do what prevents someone from coming into a miserable existence—an existence so bad that it would be rational to prefer having never been born—solely because it prevents them from coming into a miserable existence, but we do not have strong pro tanto reason to do what allows someone to come into a happy existence solely because it allows them to come into a happy existence. At best, the fact (...)
    Remove from this list   Direct download (4 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark  
  49. The Multiverse Theodicy Meets Population Ethics.Han Li & Bradford Saad - 2023 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 10.
    The multiverse theodicy proposes to reconcile the existence of God and evil by supposing that God created all and only the creation-worthy universes and that some universes like ours are, despite their evils, creation-worthy. Drawing on work in population ethics, this paper develops a novel challenge to the multiverse theodicy. Roughly, the challenge contends that the axiological underpinnings of the multiverse theodicy harbor a ‘mere addition paradox’: the assumption that creating creation-worthy universes would always make the world better turns out (...)
    Remove from this list   Direct download (2 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark  
  50. Contingent Existence, Worthwhile Lives, and Humane Animal Slaughter.Josh Mund - 2023 - Social Theory and Practice 49 (2):287-312.
    Humanely raised farm animals have lives worth living, and their existence is contingent upon human actions. Do these facts render the act of humanely slaughtering such animals permissible? I identify two ethical principles that may seem to connect these facts to the permissibility of humane animal slaughter. The first principle, inspired by the non-identity problem, exonerates some actions that maximize an individual’s well-being, but it is often inapplicable to animal slaughter. The second principle, which exonerates actions that are part of (...)
    Remove from this list   Direct download (3 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark  
1 — 50 / 363