Utility Monsters for the Fission Age

Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 96 (2):392-407 (2015)

Abstract

One of the standard approaches to the metaphysics of personal identity has some counter-intuitive ethical consequences when combined with maximising consequentialism and a plausible doctrine about aggregation of consequences. This metaphysical doctrine is the so-called ‘multiple occupancy’ approach to puzzles about fission and fusion. It gives rise to a new version of the ‘utility monster’ problem, particularly difficult problems about infinite utility, and a new version of a Parfit-style ‘repugnant conclusion’. While the article focuses on maximising consequentialism for simplicity, the problems demonstrated apply more widely to a range of ethical views, especially flavours of consequentialism. This article demonstrates how these problems arise, and discusses a number of options available in the light of these problems for a consequentialist tempted by a multiple occupancy metaphysics

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Author Profiles

Daniel Nolan
University of Notre Dame
Ray Briggs
Stanford University

References found in this work

Reasons and Persons.Derek Parfit - 1984 - Oxford University Press.
Anarchy, State, and Utopia.Robert Nozick - 1974 - New York: Basic Books.
Persons, Character, and Morality.Bernard Williams - 1976 - In James Rachels (ed.), Moral Luck: Philosophical Papers 1973–1980. Cambridge University Press.
Survival and Identity.David K. Lewis - 1976 - In Amelie Oksenberg Rorty (ed.), The Identities of Persons. University of California Press. pp. 17-40.

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Citations of this work

A Defense of the Rights of Artificial Intelligences.Eric Schwitzgebel & Mara Garza - 2015 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 39 (1):98-119.
Temporal Parts.Katherine Hawley - 2004/2010 - Stanford Encylopedia of Philosophy.
The Hard Problem of the Many.Jonathan A. Simon - 2017 - Philosophical Perspectives 31 (1):449-468.
Divided We Fall.Jacob Ross - 2014 - Philosophical Perspectives 28 (1):222-262.

View all 6 citations / Add more citations

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