Resolving the repugnant conclusion


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.



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 92,075

External links

  • This entry has no external links. Add one.
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

  • Only published works are available at libraries.

Similar books and articles

In defence of repugnance.Michael Huemer - 2008 - Mind 117 (468):899-933.
The Very Repugnant Conclusion.Gustaf Arrhenius - 2003 - In Krister Segerberg & Ryszard Sliwinski (eds.), Logic, Law, Morality: Thirteen Essays in Practical Philosophy in Honour of Lennart Åqvist. Department of Philosophy, Uppsala University. pp. 29-44.
The repugnant conclusion.Jesper Ryberg, Torbjörn Tännsjö & Gustaf Arrhenius - 2006 - The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Online; Last Accessed October 4:2006.
The repugnant conclusion.Jesper Ryberg - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Is the repugnant conclusion repugnant?Jesper Ryberg - 1996 - Philosophical Papers 25 (3):161-177.
Repugnance or Intransitivity: A Repugnant But Forced Choice.Stuart Rachels - 2004 - In Jesper Ryberg Torbjorn Tannsjo (ed.), The Repugnant Conclusion: Essays on Population Ethics. Kluwer Academic Publishers. pp. 163--86.


Added to PP

4 (#1,625,946)

6 months

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Citations of this work

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.

Add more citations

References found in this work

No references found.

Add more references