Egyptology and Fanaticism

Philosophical Studies (forthcoming)
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Abstract

Various decision theories share a troubling implication. They imply that, for any finite amount of value, it would be better to wager it all for a vanishingly small probability of some greater value. Counterintuitive as it might be, this fanaticism has seemingly compelling independent arguments in its favour. In this paper, I consider perhaps the most prima facie compelling such argument: an Egyptology argument (an analogue of the Egyptology argument from population ethics). I show that, despite recent objections from Russell (2023) and Goodsell (2021), the argument’s premises can be justified and defended, and the argument itself remains compelling.

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Hayden Wilkinson
University of Oxford

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