In Defense of Fanaticism

Ethics 132 (2):445-477 (2022)
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Which is better: a guarantee of a modest amount of moral value, or a tiny probability of arbitrarily large value? To prefer the latter seems fanatical. But, as I argue, avoiding such fanaticism brings severe problems. To do so, we must decline intuitively attractive trade-offs; rank structurally identical pairs of lotteries inconsistently, or else admit absurd sensitivity to tiny probability differences; have rankings depend on remote, unaffected events ; and often neglect to rank lotteries as we already know we would if we learned more. Compared to these implications, fanaticism is highly plausible.

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Hayden Wilkinson
Oxford University

Citations of this work

Infinite Aggregation and Risk.Hayden Wilkinson - 2023 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 101 (2):340-359.
How to deal with risks of AI suffering.Leonard Dung - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.

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