Utilitas 14 (3):360 (2002)

Authors
Tim Mulgan
University of Auckland
Abstract
Total utilitarianism implies Parfit's repugnant conclusion. For any world containing ten billion very happy people, there is a better world where a vast number of people have lives barely worth living. One common response is to claim that life in Parfit's Z is better than he suggests, and thus that his conclusion is not repugnant. This paper shows that this strategy cannot succeeed. Total utilitarianism also implies a reverse repugnant conclusion. For any world where ten billion people have lives of excruciating agony, there is a worse world where a vast number of people have lives almost worth living. This reverse repugnant conclusion is at least as repugnant as Parfit's original. If we avoid the latter by raising the zero level, then the former becomes more repugnant. We cannot save total utilitarianism by tinkering with the zero level
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1017/s0953820800003654
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 63,295
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Reasons and Persons.Joseph Margolis - 1986 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 47 (2):311-327.
What Should We Do About Future Generations?Yew-Kwang Ng - 1989 - Economics and Philosophy 5 (2):235.
Is the Repugnant Conclusion Repugnant?Jesper Ryberg - 1996 - Philosophical Papers 25 (3):161-177.

View all 6 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Totalism Without Repugnance.Jacob M. Nebel - 2021 - In Jeff McMahan, Tim Campbell, James Goodrich & Ketan Ramakrishnan (eds.), Ethics and Existence: The Legacy of Derek Parfit. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
In Defence of Repugnance.Michael Huemer - 2008 - Mind 117 (468):899-933.
Topics in Population Ethics.Teruji Thomas - 2016 - Dissertation, University of Oxford
Repugnance or Intransitivity: A Repugnant But Forced Choice.Stuart Rachels - 2004 - In Jesper Ryberg Torbjorn Tannsjo (ed.), The Repugnant Conclusion: Essays on Population Ethics. Kluwer Academic Publishers. pp. 163--86.
Prioritarianism for Variable Populations.Campbell Brown - 2007 - Philosophical Studies 134 (3):325-361.

View all 8 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Egalitarianism and Repugnant Conclusions.Thomas Søbirk Petersen - 2003 - Danish Yearbook of Philosophy 38 (1):115-125.
In Defence of Repugnance.Michael Huemer - 2008 - Mind 117 (468):899-933.
Repugnance or Intransitivity: A Repugnant But Forced Choice.Stuart Rachels - 2004 - In Jesper Ryberg Torbjorn Tannsjo (ed.), The Repugnant Conclusion: Essays on Population Ethics. Kluwer Academic Publishers. pp. 163--86.
Is the Repugnant Conclusion Repugnant?Jesper Ryberg - 1996 - Philosophical Papers 25 (3):161-177.
The Repugnant Conclusion.Jesper Ryberg, Torbjörn Tännsjö & Gustaf Arrhenius - 2006 - The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Online; Last Accessed October 4:2006.
The Repugnant Conclusion.Jesper Ryberg - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2010-08-30

Total views
121 ( #88,152 of 2,448,711 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
3 ( #225,345 of 2,448,711 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes