Self torture and group beneficence

Erkenntnis 47 (1):129-144 (1997)
Moral puzzles about actions which bring about very small or what are said to be imperceptible harms or benefits for each of a large number of people are well known. Less well known is an argument by Warren Quinn that standard theories of rationality can lead an agent to end up torturing himself or herself in a completely foreseeable way, and that this shows that standard theories of rationality need to be revised. We show where Quinn's argument goes wrong, and apply this to the moral puzzles
Keywords Imperceptible benefits  Aggregation  Self torturer  Quinn  Transitivity  Rationality
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Reprint years 2004
DOI 10.1023/A:1005376607563
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