Intransitivity and Priority Setting

Journal of Philosophical Research 36:173-189 (2011)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

It is a basic and intuitive assumption that the relation of moral preference must be transitive—if A is overall morally preferable to B; and B is overall morally preferably to C; then, if our views are coherent, it better be the case that A is overall morally preferable to C. However, recent work by Temkin and Rachels has undermined that assumption by showing that common-sense ethical distributive principles that we are unlikely to give up generate intransitive sets of moral preferences. The consequences of this for resource allocation are profound—how can we come up with a just way of rationing limited resources if whatever course of action we adopt, there will be other alternatives that are morally preferable to it? However, regardless of the theoretical challenges, practical resource allocation decisions must be made every day! We explore an approach to dealing with some of the pragmatic aspects of the problem, even though the theoretical problem of intransitivity remains unsolved. We begin by considering whether the ways in which counterexamples to transitivity have (of necessity) been oversimplified actually contribute to the intractability of the problem by taking the possibilities of cost sharing, benefit splitting, and compensation (which are often available in real-life tradeoff situations) off the table. The proposal we end up suggesting does not rely on any assumptions or judgments about interpersonal aggregation, and so has a chance of allowing us to work around the most troubling kind of intransitivity.

Links

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 92,991

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Intransitivity and Priority Setting.Alex Friedman & Marion Danis - 2011 - Journal of Philosophical Research 36:173-189.
Intransitive Ethics.Alex Friedman - 2009 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 6 (3):277-297.
Counterexamples to the transitivity of better than.Stuart Rachels - 1998 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 76 (1):71 – 83.
Better than.Chrisoula Andreou - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (6):1621-1638.
Essentially Comparative Value Does Not Threaten Transitivity.Toby Handfield - 2016 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 5 (1):3-12.

Analytics

Added to PP
2011-12-02

Downloads
58 (#283,499)

6 months
8 (#415,825)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Citations of this work

Rationing and Social Value Judgments.Alexander W. Friedman - 2011 - American Journal of Bioethics 11 (7):28 - 29.

Add more citations

References found in this work

No references found.

Add more references