Lopsided Lives

In Mark Timmons (ed.), Oxford Studies in Normative Ethics. Oxford University Press. pp. 275-296 (2017)
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Abstract

Intuitively there are many different things that non-derivatively contribute to well-being: pleasure, desire satisfaction, knowledge, friendship, love, rationality, freedom, moral virtue, and appreciation of true beauty. According to pluralism, at least two different types of things non-derivatively contribute to well-being. Lopsided lives score very low in terms of some types of things that putatively non-derivatively contribute to well-being, but very high in terms of other such types of things. I argue that pluralists essentially face a trilemma about lopsided lives: they must either make implausible claims about how they compare in terms of overall well-being with more balanced lives, allow overall well-being to be implausibly hypersensitive to very slight nonevaluative differences, or else adopt implausible seeming limits on what things lives can contain or how much they can contribute to overall well-being. Such problems about lopsided lives thus push us away from pluralism and toward simpler theories of well-being, toward hedonism in particular. (This piece is the subject of Eden Lin’s paper “Well-Being and Hedonic Indispensability”.)

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Author's Profile

Theron Pummer
University of St. Andrews

Citations of this work

Sorites On What Matters.Theron Pummer - 2022 - In Jeff McMahan, Timothy Campbell, Ketan Ramakrishnan & Jimmy Goodrich (eds.), Ethics and Existence: The Legacy of Derek Parfit. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 498–523.
The Value of Consciousness to the One Who Has It.Uriah Kriegel - forthcoming - In Geoffrey Lee & Adam Pautz (eds.), The Importance of Being Conscious. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
A Defense of Basic Prudential Hedonism.Joe Nelson - 2020 - Dissertation, Duke University

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