What österberg's population theory has in common with Plato's

In Erik Carlson & Ryszard Sliwinski (eds.), Omnium-gatherum. Philosophical Essays Dedicated to Jan Österberg on the Occastion of his Sixtieth Birthday. Uppsala Philosophical Studies. pp. 29-44 (2001)
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Jan Österberg is one of the pioneers in the field of population ethics. He started thinking about this issue already in the late 60s and he has developed one of the most original and interesting population axiologies.1 I’ve discussed the problems and drawbacks of Österberg’s theory elsewhere, and I don’t think that this is the place and time to discuss them again.2 Rather, I shall show that Österberg’s theory has a feature in common with the population axiologies of such luminaries like Plato, Aristotle, Kant, Nietzsche, Wittgenstein and Heidegger, had they developed such a theory: None of these theories simultaneously satisfy five weak adequacy conditions. We shall show this by proving that no population axiology satisfies these five conditions. As a fringe benefit, this theorem also shows that the on-going project of constructing an acceptable population axiology has very gloomy prospects. 3.



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Gustaf Arrhenius
Stockholm University

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