Essentially Comparative Value Does Not Threaten Transitivity


Authors
Toby Handfield
Monash University
Abstract
The essentially comparative conception of value entails that the value of a state of affairs does not depend solely upon features intrinsic to the state of affairs, but also upon extrinsic features, such as the set of feasible alternatives. It has been argued that this conception of value gives us reason to abandon the transitivity of the better than relation. This paper shows that the support for intransitivity derived from this conception of value is very limited. On its most plausible interpretations, it merely provides a necessary, but not sufficient, condition for intransitivity. It is further argued that the essentially comparative conception of value appears to support a disjunctive conclusion: there is incommensurability of value or betterness is not transitive. Of these two alternatives, incommensurability is preferable, because it is far less threatening to our other axiological commitments.
Keywords intransitivity  essentially comparative  betterness  Temkin  value  incommensurability  transitivity  axiology
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Reprint years 2016
DOI 10.1002/tht3.188
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References found in this work BETA

Ethics Without Principles.Jonathan Dancy - 2004 - Oxford University Press.
Reasons and Persons.Derek Parfit - 1984 - Oxford University Press.
Rational Choice and the Transitivity of Betterness.Toby Handfield - 2014 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 89 (3):584-604.

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Citations of this work BETA

Acting on Essentially Comparative Goodness.John Cusbert - 2017 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 6 (2):73-83.
On the Possibility of Limited Weighing of Lives.Daniel Ramöller - 2020 - Dissertation, Stockholm University

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