Philosophical Studies 173 (5):1309-1334 (2016)

Justin Klocksiem
New Mexico State University
Although the thesis that the moral better than relation is transitive seems obviously true, there is a growing literature according to which Parfit’s repugnant conclusion and related puzzles reveal that this thesis is false or problematic. This paper begins by presenting several such puzzles and explaining how they can be used in arguments for the intransitivity of better than. It then proposes and defends a plausible alternative picture of the behavior of better than that both resolves the repugnant conclusion and preserves transitivity. On the threshold-based model of lexicality defended here, hedonic episodes whose intensity is above a certain point are lexically greater than those whose intensity is below it. The final sections argue that this model is independently plausible and can be defended from several important objections
Keywords Intransitivity  Repugnant conclusion  Parfit  Temkin  Rachels
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DOI 10.1007/s11098-015-0548-4
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References found in this work BETA

Reasons and Persons.Derek Parfit - 1984 - Oxford University Press.
Weighing Lives.John Broome - 2004 - Oxford University Press.
Overpopulation and the Quality of Life.Derek Parfit - 1986 - In Peter Singer (ed.), Applied Ethics. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 145-164.

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Citations of this work BETA

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.
Rational Intransitive Preferences.Peter Baumann - 2022 - Politics, Philosophy and Economics 21 (1):3-28.
‘All-Things-Considered,’ ‘Better-Than,’ And Sports Rankings.S. Seth Bordner - 2016 - Journal of the Philosophy of Sport 43 (2):215-232.

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