Dissertation, Australian National University (2021)
Suppose you found that the universe around you was infinite—that it extended infinitely far in space or in time and, as a result, contained infinitely many persons. How should this change your moral decision-making? Radically, it seems, according to some philosophers. According to various recent arguments, any moral theory that is ’minimally aggregative’ will deliver absurd judgements in practice if the universe is (even remotely likely to be) infinite. This seems like sound justification for abandoning any such theory.
My goal in this thesis is simple: to demonstrate that we need not abandon minimally aggregative theories, even if we happen to live in an infinite universe. I develop and motivate an extension of such theories, which delivers plausible judgements in a range of realistic cases. I show that this extended theory can overcome key objections—both old and new—and that it succeeds where other proposals do not. With this proposal in hand, we can indeed retain minimally aggregative theories and continue to make moral decisions based on what will promote the good.