Religious Studies 35 (2):173-190 (1999)

Stephen Grover
Queens College (CUNY)
The quantitative argument against the notion of a best possible world claims that, no matter how many worthwhile lives a world contains, another world contains more and is, other things being equal, better. Parfit’s ‘ Mere Addition Paradox ’ suggests that defenders of this argument must accept his ‘ Repugnant Conclusion ’ : that outcomes containing billions upon billions of lives barely worth living are better than outcomes containing fewer lives of higher quality. Several responses to the Paradox are discussed and rejected as either inadequate or unavailable in a theistic context. The quantitative argument fails if some world is such that addition to it is not possible, i.e., if it is intensively infinite, as Liebniz claimed. If the notion of such a world is incoherent, then no world is quantitatively best and the quantitative argument succeeds, but only at the cost of embracing the Repugnant Conclusion.
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DOI 10.1017/s0034412599004783
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