In defence of repugnance

Mind 117 (468):899-933 (2008)
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Abstract

I defend the 'Repugnant' Conclusion that for any possible population of happy people, a population containing a sufficient number of people with lives barely worth living would be better. Four lines of argument converge on this conclusion, and the conclusion has a simple, natural theoretical explanation. The opposition to the Repugnant Conclusion rests on a bare appeal to intuition. This intuition is open to charges of being influenced by multiple distorting factors. Several theories of population ethics have been devised to avoid the Repugnant Conclusion, but each generates even more counterintuitive consequences. The intuition opposing the Repugnant Conclusion is thus among the best candidates for an intuition that should be revised

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Michael Huemer
University of Colorado, Boulder

Citations of this work

In Defense of Fanaticism.Hayden Wilkinson - 2022 - Ethics 132 (2):445-477.
Totalism without Repugnance.Jacob M. Nebel - 2022 - In Jeff McMahan, Tim Campbell, James Goodrich & Ketan Ramakrishnan (eds.), Ethics and Existence: The Legacy of Derek Parfit. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 200-231.
Population axiology.Hilary Greaves - 2017 - Philosophy Compass 12 (11):e12442.
The Sum of Well-Being.Jacob M. Nebel - 2023 - Mind 132 (528):1074–1104.
The Neutrality of Life.Andrew Y. Lee - 2023 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 101 (3):685-703.

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References found in this work

Reasons and Persons.Derek Parfit - 1984 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press.
Reasons and Persons.Joseph Margolis - 1986 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 47 (2):311-327.
Moral skepticisms.Walter Sinnott-Armstrong - 2006 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Principia Ethica.G. E. Moore - 1903 - Revue de Métaphysique et de Morale 13 (3):7-9.

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