Resolving the repugnant conclusion


Abstract
The Repugnant Conclusion is closer to infinity-based arguments, such as Pascal’s Wager, than it at first appears. Both rely on an unbounded set of payoff comparisons. It is possible to restructure Pascal’s Wager to resemble the Repugnant Conclusion more closely, as the use of infinity is not central to the former. I then consider settings in which the set of comparisons is bounded, so as to differentiate Parfit’s problem from the more general issues involved with very large numbers. We then find the Repugnant Conclusion no longer necessarily arises as a matter of logic rather is an empirical contingency. I then present some plausible intuitions under which the Repugnant Conclusion never arises. The paradoxical nature of Parfit’s Repugnant Conclusion is traced to the simultaneous application of two inconsistent outside observer constructs: one to judge the Repugnant Conclusion as repugnant, and another to define the utility scale for a marginally worthwhile life. Once the two constructs are made consistent, the Repugnant Conclusion can be defused.
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In Defence of Repugnance.Michael Huemer - 2008 - Mind 117 (468):899-933.
Negative Average Preference Utilitarianism.Roger Chao - 2012 - Journal of Philosophy of Life 2 (1):55-66.
Resources and the Acceptability of the Repugnant Conclusion.Stephen J. Schmidt - forthcoming - Theoria. An International Journal for Theory, History and Foundations of Science.

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