Acta Analytica 28 (1):31-48 (2013)

Molly Gardner
University of Florida
Justin Weinberg
University of South Carolina
The quality of a life is typically understood as a function of the actual goods and bads in it, that is, its actual value. Likewise, the value of a population is typically taken to be a function of the actual value of the lives in it. We introduce an alternative understanding of life quality: adjusted value. A life’s adjusted value is a function of its actual value and its ideal value (the best value it could have had). The concept of adjusted value is useful for at least three reasons. First, it fits our judgments about how well lives are going. Second, it allows us to avoid what we call False Equivalence, an error related to the non-identity problem. Third, when we use adjusted value as an input for calculating the value of a population, we can avoid two puzzles that Derek Parfit calls the “Repugnant Conclusion” and the “Mere Addition Paradox.”
Keywords Quality of life  Value  Population ethics  Non-identity problem  Repugnant conclusion  Mere addition paradox  Derek Parfit
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s12136-012-0184-y
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 70,192
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Reasons and Persons.Derek Parfit - 1984 - Oxford University Press.
The Paradoxes of Time Travel.David K. Lewis - 1976 - American Philosophical Quarterly 13 (2):145-152.
The Paradoxes of Time Travel.David Lewis - 1976 - In Tim Crane & Katalin Farkas (eds.), Metaphysics: A Guide and Anthology. Oxford University Press.

View all 9 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

When Death Comes Too Late: Radical Life Extension and the Makropulos Case.Michael Hauskeller - 2021 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 90:147-166.
Non-Identity Matters, Sometimes.Justin Weinberg - 2014 - Utilitas 26 (1):23-33.
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

Similar books and articles

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.
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.
Mere Addition and the Best of All Possible Worlds.Stephen Grover - 1999 - Religious Studies 35 (2):173-190.
One More Axiological Impossibility Theorem.Gustaf Arrhenius - 2009 - In Lars-Göran Johansson, Jan Österberg & Ryszard Sliwinski (eds.), Logic, Ethics and All That Jazz. Essays in Honour of Jordan Howard Sobel. Uppsala: Uppsala Philosophical Studies. pp. 23-37.
In Defence of Repugnance.Michael Huemer - 2008 - Mind 117 (468):899-933.
Intransitivity and the Mere Addition Paradox.Larry S. Temkin - 1987 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 16 (2):138-187.


Added to PP index

Total views
109 ( #107,512 of 2,507,504 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
2 ( #277,263 of 2,507,504 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes