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The possibility of parity

Ethics 112 (4):659-688 (2002)

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  1. Decision Theory.Katie Steele & H. Orri Stefánsson - 2015 - In Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
  • Nonreductive Physicalism and the Limits of the Exclusion Principle.Christian List & Peter Menzies - 2009 - Journal of Philosophy 106 (9):475-502.
    It is often argued that higher-level special-science properties cannot be causally efficacious since the lower-level physical properties on which they supervene are doing all the causal work. This claim is usually derived from an exclusion principle stating that if a higherlevel property F supervenes on a physical property F* that is causally sufficient for a property G, then F cannot cause G. We employ an account of causation as differencemaking to show that the truth or falsity of this principle is (...)
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  • Bare-Difference Methodology and a Problematic Separability Principle.Zak A. Kopeikin - 2020 - Journal of Value Inquiry 54 (4):553-570.
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  • Indeterminacy and the Principle of Need.Herlitz Anders - 2017 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 38 (1):1-14.
    The principle of need—the idea that resources should be allocated according to need—is often invoked in priority setting in the health care sector. In this article, I argue that a reasonable principle of need must be indeterminate, and examine three different ways that this can be dealt with: appendicizing the principle with further principles, imposing determinacy, or empowering decision makers. I argue that need must be conceptualized as a composite property composed of at least two factors: health shortfall and capacity (...)
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  • On Parfit’s Wide Dual Person-Affecting Principle.Michal Masny - 2020 - Philosophical Quarterly 70 (278):114-139.
    In the posthumously published ‘Future People, the Non-Identity Problem, and Person-Affecting Principles’, Derek Parfit presents a novel axiological principle which he calls the Wide Dual Person-Affecting Principle and claims that it does not imply the Repugnant Conclusion. This paper shows that even the best version of Parfit's principle cannot avoid this conclusion. That said, accepting such a principle makes embracing the Repugnant Conclusion more justifiable. This paper further addresses important questions which Parfit left unanswered concerning: the relative importance of individual (...)
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  • From Values to Probabilities.Wlodek Rabinowicz - 2017 - Synthese 194 (10):3901-3929.
    According to the fitting-attitude analysis of value, to be valuable is to be a fitting object of a pro-attitude. In earlier publications, setting off from this format of analysis, I proposed a modelling of value relations which makes room for incommensurability in value. In this paper, I first recapitulate the value modelling and then move on to suggest adopting a structurally similar analysis of probability. Indeed, many probability theorists from Poisson onwards did adopt an analysis of this kind. This move (...)
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  • 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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  • How to (Consistently) Reject the Options Argument.Stephen M. Campbell, Joseph A. Stramondo & David Wasserman - forthcoming - Utilitas:1-9.
    It is commonly thought that disability is a harm or “bad difference” because having a disability restricts valuable options in life. In his recent essay “Disability, Options and Well-Being,” Thomas Crawley offers a novel defense of this style of reasoning and argues that we and like-minded critics of this brand of argument are guilty of an inconsistency. Our aim in this article is to explain why our view avoids inconsistency, to challenge Crawley's positive defense of the Options Argument, and to (...)
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  • Parity and Comparability—a Concern Regarding Chang’s Chaining Argument.Henrik Andersson - 2015 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 19 (1):245-253.
    According to Ruth Chang the three standard positive value relations: “better than”, “worse than” and “equally good” do not fully exhaust the conceptual space for positive value relations. According to her, there is room for a fourth positive value relation, which she calls “parity”. Her argument for parity comes in three parts. First, she argues that there are items that are not related by the standard three value relations. Second, that these items are not incomparable, and third, that the phenomena (...)
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  • Betterness of permissibility.Benjamin Ferguson & Sebastian Köhler - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (9):2451-2469.
    It is often assumed that morally permissible acts are morally better than impermissible acts. We call this claim Betterness of Permissibility. Yet, we show that some striking counterexamples show that the claim’s truth cannot be taken for granted. Furthermore, even if Betterness of Permissibility is true, it is unclear why. Apart from appeals to its intuitive plausibility, no arguments in favour of the condition exist. We fill this lacuna by identifying two fundamental conditions that jointly entail betterness of permissibility: ‘reasons (...)
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  • Are Hard Choices Cases of Incomparability?Ruth Chang - 2012 - Philosophical Issues 22 (1):106-126.
    This paper presents an argument against the widespread view that ‘hard choices’ are hard because of the incomparability of the alternatives. The argument has two parts. First, I argue that any plausible theory of practical reason must be ‘comparativist’ in form, that is, it must hold that a comparative relation between the alternatives with respect to what matters in the choice determines a justified choice in that situation. If comparativist views of practical reason are correct, however, the incomparabilist view of (...)
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  • Values Compared.Wlodek Rabinowicz - 2009 - Polish Journal of Philosophy 3 (1):73-96.
    Gert (2004) has suggested that several different types of value relations, including parity, can be clearly distinguished from each other if one interprets value comparisons as normative assessments of preference, while allowing for two levels of normativity - requirement and permission. While this basic idea is attractive, the particular modeling Gert makes use of is flawed. This paper presents an alternative modeling, developed in Rabinowicz (2008), and a general taxonomy of binary value relations. Another version of value analysis is then (...)
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  • Transformative Experience and the Shark Problem.Tim Campbell & Julia Mosquera - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (11):3549-3565.
    In her ground-breaking and highly influential book Transformative Experience, L.A. Paul makes two claims: (1) one cannot evaluate and compare certain experiential outcomes (e.g. being a parent and being a non-parent) unless one can grasp what these outcomes are like; and (2) one can evaluate and compare certain intuitively horrible outcomes (e.g. being eaten alive by sharks) as bad and worse than certain other outcomes even if one cannot grasp what these intuitively horrible outcomes are like. We argue that the (...)
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  • Grounding Practical Normativity: Going Hybrid.Ruth Chang - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 164 (1):163-187.
    In virtue of what is something a reason for action? That is, what makes a consideration a reason to act? This is a metaphysical or meta-normative question about the grounding of reasons for action. The answer to the grounding question has been traditionally given in ‘pure’, univocal terms. This paper argues that there is good reason to understand the ground of practical normativity as a hybrid of traditional ‘pure’ views. The paper 1) surveys the three leading ‘pure’ answers to the (...)
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  • Incommensurability and Moral Value.Mark R. Reiff - 2014 - Politics, Philosophy and Economics 13 (3):237-268.
    Some theorists believe that there is a plurality of values, and that in many circumstances these values are incommensurable, or at least incomparable. Others believe that all values are reducible to a single super-value, or that even if there is a plurality of irreducible values these values are commensurable. But I will argue that both sides have got it wrong. Values are neither commensurable nor incommensurable, at least not in the way most people think. We are free to believe in (...)
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  • The Population Ethics of Belief: In Search of an Epistemic Theory X.Richard Pettigrew - 2018 - Noûs 52 (2):336-372.
    Consider Phoebe and Daphne. Phoebe has credences in 1 million propositions. Daphne, on the other hand, has credences in all of these propositions, but she's also got credences in 999 million other propositions. Phoebe's credences are all very accurate. Each of Daphne's credences, in contrast, are not very accurate at all; each is a little more accurate than it is inaccurate, but not by much. Whose doxastic state is better, Phoebe's or Daphne's? It is clear that this question is analogous (...)
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  • Do Epistemic Reasons Bear on the Ought Simpliciter?Susanne Mantel - 2019 - Philosophical Issues 29 (1):214-227.
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  • Doxastic Divergence and the Problem of Comparability. Pragmatism Defended Further.Anne Meylan - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
    Situations where it is not obvious which of two incompatible actions we ought to perform are commonplace. As has frequently been noted in the contemporary literature, a similar issue seems to arise in the field of beliefs. Cases of doxastic divergence are cases in which the subject seems subject to two divergent oughts to believe: an epistemic and a practical ought to believe. This article supports the moderate pragmatist view according to which subjects ought, all things considered, to hold the (...)
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  • Epistemic Decision Theory's Reckoning.Conor Mayo-Wilson & Gregory Wheeler - manuscript
    Epistemic decision theory (EDT) employs the mathematical tools of rational choice theory to justify epistemic norms, including probabilism, conditionalization, and the Principal Principle, among others. Practitioners of EDT endorse two theses: (1) epistemic value is distinct from subjective preference, and (2) belief and epistemic value can be numerically quantified. We argue the first thesis, which we call epistemic puritanism, undermines the second.
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  • 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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  • The Multidimensional Structure of ‘better than’.Erich H. Rast - forthcoming - Axiomathes:1-29.
    According to the mixed lexicographic/additive account of ‘better than’ and similar aggregative value comparatives like ‘healthier than’, values are multidimensional and different aspects of a value are aggregated into an overall assessment in a lexicographic way, based on an ordering of value aspects. It is argued that this theory can account for an acceptable definition of Chang’s notion of parity and that it also offers a solution to Temkin’s and Rachels’s Spectrum Cases without giving up the transitivity of overall betterness. (...)
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  • Uncertain Preferences in Rational Decision.Moritz Schulz - 2020 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 63 (6):605-627.
    ABSTRACT Is uncertainty about preferences rationally possible? And if so, does it matter for rational decision? It is argued that uncertainty about preferences is possible and should play the same role in rational decision-making as uncertainty about worldly facts. The paper develops this hypothesis and defends it against various objections.
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  • The Limited Impact of Indeterminacy for Healthcare Rationing: How Indeterminacy Problems Show the Need for a Hybrid Theory, but Nothing More.Anders Herlitz - 2016 - Journal of Medical Ethics 42 (1):22-25.
    A notorious debate in the ethics of healthcare rationing concerns whether to address rationing decisions with substantial principles or with a procedural approach. One major argument in favour of procedural approaches is that substantial principles are indeterminate so that we can reasonably disagree about how to apply them. To deal with indeterminacy, we need a just decision process. In this paper I argue that it is a mistake to abandon substantial principles just because they are indeterminate. It is true that (...)
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  • Consequentialism and Collective Action.Brian Hedden - 2020 - Ethics 130 (4):530-554.
    Many consequentialists argue that you ought to do your part in collective action problems like climate change mitigation and ending factory farming because (i) all such problems are triggering cases, in which there is a threshold number of people such that the outcome will be worse if at least that many people act in a given way than if fewer do, and (ii) doing your part in a triggering case maximises expected value. I show that both (i) and (ii) are (...)
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  • Divine Satisficing and the Ethics of the Problem of Evil.Chris Tucker - 2020 - Faith and Philosophy 37 (1):32-56.
    This paper accomplishes three goals. First, it reveals that God’s ethics has a radical satisficing structure: God can choose a good enough suboptimal option even if there is a best option and no countervailing considerations. Second, it resolves the long-standing worry that there is no account of the good enough that is both principled and demanding enough to be good enough. Third, it vindicates the key ethical assumption in the problem of evil without relying on the contested assumption that God’s (...)
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  • Can Every Option Be Rationally Impermissible?Chrisoula Andreou - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-9.
    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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  • Nondeterminacy, Cycles and Rational Choice.Anders Herlitz - 2020 - Analysis 80 (3):443-449.
    A notorious problem that has recently received increased attention in axiology, normative theory and population ethics is the apparent ubiquity of what can be generally called nondeterminacy. This paper illustrates how nondeterminacy can spawn cyclical rankings. So, accepting that practical reasons can admit of nondeterminacy challenges the widely held idea that ‘better than’ is transitive. As a result, standard approaches to rational choice under nondeterminacy fail to be action-guiding, since in some situations all options are dominated, that is, impermissible according (...)
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  • Moral and Vocational Dilemmas Meet the Common Currency Hypothesis: a Contribution to Value Commensurability.Eleonora Viganò & Edoardo Lombardi Vallauri - 2020 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 11 (1):83-102.
    Moral dilemmas have long been debated in moral philosophy without reaching a definitive consensus. The majority of value pluralists attribute their origin to the incommensurability of moral values, i.e. the statement that, since moral values are many and different in nature, they may conflict and cannot be compared. Neuroscientific studies on the neural common currency show that the comparison between allegedly incompatible alternatives is a practical possibility, namely it is the basis of the way in which the agent evaluates choice (...)
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  • Borderline Cases and the Collapsing Principle.Luke Elson - 2014 - Utilitas 26 (1):51-60.
    John Broome has argued that value incommensurability is vagueness, by appeal to a controversial about comparative indeterminacy. I offer a new counterexample to the collapsing principle. That principle allows us to derive an outright contradiction from the claim that some object is a borderline case of some predicate. But if there are no borderline cases, then the principle is empty. The collapsing principle is either false or empty.
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  • Weak Superiority, Imprecise Equality and the Repugnant Conclusion.Karsten Klint Jensen - 2020 - Utilitas 32 (3):294-315.
    Derek Parfit defends the Imprecise Lexical View as a way to avoid the Repugnant Conclusion. Allowing for ‘imprecise equality’, Parfit argues, makes it possible to avoid some well-known problems for the Lexical View. It is demonstrated that the Lexical View has stronger implications than envisaged by Parfit; moreover, his assumption of Non-diminishing Marginal Value makes the Lexical View collapse into a much stronger view, which lets the two appear incompatible. Introducing imprecise equality does not address the latter problem. But it (...)
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  • Infinite Options, Intransitive Value, and Supererogation.Daniel Muñoz - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies.
    Supererogatory acts are those that lie “beyond the call of duty.” There are two standard ways to define this idea more precisely. Although the definitions are often seen as equivalent, I argue that they can diverge when (i) options are infinite, or when (ii) there are cycles of better options; moreover, each definition is acceptable in only one case. I consider two ways out of this dilemma.
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  • Spectrum Arguments, Parity and Persistency.Anders Herlitz - 2020 - Theoria 86 (4):463-481.
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  • 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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  • 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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  • Exceeding Expectations: Stochastic Dominance as a General Decision Theory.Christian Tarsney - manuscript
    The principle that rational agents should maximize expected utility or choiceworthiness is intuitively plausible in many ordinary cases of decision-making under uncertainty. But it is less plausible in cases of extreme, low-probability risk (like Pascal's Mugging), and intolerably paradoxical in cases like the St. Petersburg and Pasadena games. In this paper I show that, under certain conditions, stochastic dominance reasoning can capture most of the plausible implications of expectational reasoning while avoiding most of its pitfalls. Specifically, given sufficient background uncertainty (...)
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  • 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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  • Resuscitation of a Phantom? On Robert Alexy’s Latest Attempt to Save His Concept of Principle.Ralf Poscher - 2020 - Ratio Juris 33 (2):134-149.
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  • 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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  • Aggregating Causal Judgments.Richard Bradley, Franz Dietrich & Christian List - 2014 - Philosophy of Science 81 (4):491-515.
    Decision-making typically requires judgments about causal relations: we need to know the causal effects of our actions and the causal relevance of various environmental factors. We investigate how several individuals' causal judgments can be aggregated into collective causal judgments. First, we consider the aggregation of causal judgments via the aggregation of probabilistic judgments, and identify the limitations of this approach. We then explore the possibility of aggregating causal judgments independently of probabilistic ones. Formally, we introduce the problem of causal-network aggregation. (...)
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  • The Aim of a Theory of Justice.Martijn Boot - 2012 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 15 (1):7-21.
    Amartya Sen argues that for the advancement of justice identification of ‘perfect’ justice is neither necessary nor sufficient. He replaces ‘perfect’ justice with comparative justice. Comparative justice limits itself to comparing social states with respect to degrees of justice. Sen’s central thesis is that identifying ‘perfect’ justice and comparing imperfect social states are ‘analytically disjoined’. This essay refutes Sen’s thesis by demonstrating that to be able to make adequate comparisons we need to identify and integrate criteria of comparison. This is (...)
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  • Value Receptacles.Richard Yetter Chappell - 2015 - Noûs 49 (2):322-332.
    Utilitarianism is often rejected on the grounds that it fails to respect the separateness of persons, instead treating people as mere “receptacles of value”. I develop several different versions of this objection, and argue that, despite their prima facie plausibility, they are all mistaken. Although there are crude forms of utilitarianism that run afoul of these objections, I advance a new form of the view—‘token-pluralistic utilitarianism’—that does not.
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  • How It All Relates : Exploring the Space of Value Comparisons.Henrik Andersson - 2017 - Dissertation, Lund University
    This thesis explores whether the three standard value relations, “better than”, “worse than” and “equally as good”, exhaust the possibilities in which things can relate with respect to their value. Or more precisely, whether there are examples in which one of these relations is not instantiated. There are cases in which it is not obvious that one of these relations does obtain; these are referred to as “hard cases of comparison”. These hard cases of comparison become interesting, since if it (...)
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  • Imprecise Lexical Superiority and the (Slightly Less) Repugnant Conclusion.James Fanciullo - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (8):2103-2117.
    Recently, Derek Parfit has offered a novel solution to the “Repugnant Conclusion” that compared with the existence of many people whose quality of life would be very high, there is some much larger number of people whose existence would be better but whose lives would be barely worth living. On this solution, qualitative differences between two populations will often entail that the populations are merely “imprecisely” comparable. According to Parfit, this fact allows us to avoid the Repugnant Conclusion without violating (...)
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  • The Epistemic Problem Does Not Refute Consequentialism.Tyler Cowen - 2006 - Utilitas 18 (4):383.
    “Perhaps the most common objection to consequentialism is this: it is impossible to know the future…This means that you will never be absolutely certain as to what all the consequences of your act will be…there may be long term bad effects from your act, side effects that were unforeseen and indeed unforeseeable…So how can we tell which act will lead to the best results overall – counting all the results? This seems to mean that consequentialism will be unusable as a (...)
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  • Heaps and Chains: Is the Chaining Argument for Parity a Sorites?Luke Elson - 2014 - Ethics 124 (3):557-571.
    I argue that the Ruth Chang’s Chaining Argument for her parity view of value incomparability trades illicitly on the vagueness of the predicate ‘is comparable with’. Chang is alert to this danger and argues that the predicate is not vague, but this defense does not succeed. The Chaining Argument also faces a dilemma. The predicate is either vague or precise. If it is vague, then the argument is most plausibly a sorites. If it is precise, then the argument is either (...)
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  • 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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  • Reasons and Normativity.Jakob Green Werkmäster - 2019 - Dissertation, Lund University
    Normative reasons are of constant importance to us as agents trying to navigate through life. For this reason it is natural and vital to ask philosophical questions about reasons and the normative realm. This thesis explores various issues concerning reasons and normativity. The thesis consists of five free-standingpapers and an extended introduction. The aim of the extended introduction is not merely to situate the papers within a wider philosophical context but also to provide an overview of some of the central (...)
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  • 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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  • Transformative Choices.Ruth Chang - 2015 - Res Philosophica 92 (2):237-282.
    This paper proposes a way to understand transformative choices, choices that change ‘who you are.’ First, it distinguishes two broad models of transformative choice: 1) ‘event-based’ transformative choices in which some event—perhaps an experience—downstream from a choice transforms you, and 2) ‘choice-based’ transformative choices in which the choice itself—and not something downstream from the choice—transforms you. Transformative choices are of interest primarily because they purport to pose a challenge to standard approaches to rational choice. An examination of the event-based transformative (...)
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  • Value Incomparability and Incommensurability.Ruth Chang - 2015 - In Iwao Hirose & Jonas Olson (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Value Theory. Oxford University Press.
    This introductory article describes the phenomena of incommensurability and incomparability, how they are related, and why they are important. Since incomparability is the more significant phenomenon, the paper takes that as its focus. It gives a detailed account of what incomparability is, investigates the relation between the incomparability of values and the incomparability of alternatives for choice, distinguishes incomparability from the related phenomena of parity, indeterminacy, and noncomparability, and, finally, defends a view about practical justification that vindicates the importance of (...)
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