Australasian Journal of Philosophy 76 (1):71 – 83 (1998)
Ethicists and economists commonly assume that if A is all things considered better than B, and B is all things considered better than C, then A is all things considered better than C. Call this principle Transitivity. Although it has great conceptual, intuitive, and empirical appeal, I argue against it. Larry S. Temkin explains how three types of ethical principle, which cannot be dismissed a priori, threaten Transitivity: (a) principles implying that in some cases different factors are relevant to comparing A to C than to comparing A to B or B to C; (b) principles of limited scope; (c) principles implying that morally relevant differences in degree can amount to differences in kind. My counterexamples employ a principle of type (c): pleasures and pains enormously different in intensity differ in kind. Temkin has also endorsed this type of counterexample, using arguments based on earlier drafts of this paper.
|Keywords||Transitivity Intransitivity Derek Parfit The Second Paradox Pain The Mere Addition Paradox The Repugnant Conclusion Larry Temkin|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
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Citations of this work BETA
The Good, the Bad, and the Transitivity of Better Than.Jacob M. Nebel - 2017 - Noûs 51 (2).
Vaulting Intuition: Temkin's Critique of Transitivity.Alex Voorhoeve - 2013 - Economics and Philosophy 29 (3):409-425.
Rational Choice and the Transitivity of Betterness.Toby Handfield - 2013 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 87 (1):584-604.
The Problem of Evil and the Suffering of Creeping Things.Dustin Crummett - forthcoming - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion:1-18.
Person-Affecting Views and Saturating Counterpart Relations.Christopher J. G. Meacham - 2012 - Philosophical Studies 158 (2):257-287.
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