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Andreas Mogensen [22]Andreas L. Mogensen [15]Andreas Lech Mogensen [1]
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Andreas Mogensen
Oxford University
  1. On the desire to make a difference.Hilary Greaves, Andreas Mogensen, William MacAskill & Teruji Thomas - manuscript
    True benevolence is, most fundamentally, a desire that the world be better. It is natural and common, however, to frame thinking about benevolence indirectly, in terms of a desire to make a difference to how good the world is. This would be an innocuous shift if desires to make a difference were extensionally equivalent to desires that the world be better. This paper shows that at least on some common ways of making a “desire to make a difference” precise, this (...)
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  2.  97
    Doomsday rings twice.Andreas Mogensen - manuscript
    This paper considers the argument according to which, because we should regard it as a priori very unlikely that we are among the most important people who will ever exist, we should increase our confidence that the human species will not persist beyond the current historical era, which seems to represent a crucial juncture in human history and perhaps even the history of life on earth. The argument is a descendant of the Carter-Leslie Doomsday Argument, but I show that it (...)
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  3. Moral Testimony Pessimism and the Uncertain Value of Authenticity.Andreas L. Mogensen - 2017 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 95 (2):261-284.
    Many philosophers believe that there exist distinctive obstacles to relying on moral testimony. In this paper, I criticize previous attempts to identify these obstacles and offer a new theory. I argue that the problems associated with moral deference can't be explained in terms of the value of moral understanding, nor in terms of aretaic considerations related to subjective integration. Instead, our uneasiness with moral testimony is best explained by our attachment to an ideal of authenticity that places special demands on (...)
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  4. Moral demands and the far future.Andreas Mogensen - manuscript
    I argue that moral philosophers have either misunderstood the problem of moral demandingness or at least failed to recognize important dimensions of the problem that undermine many standard assumptions. It has been assumed that utilitarianism concretely directs us to maximize welfare within a generation by transferring resources to people currently living in extreme poverty. In fact, utilitarianism seems to imply that any obligation to help people who are currently badly off is trumped by obligations to undertake actions targeted at improving (...)
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  5. Maximal cluelessness.Andreas Mogensen - manuscript
    I argue that many of the priority rankings that have been proposed by effective altruists seem to be in tension with apparently reasonable assumptions about the rational pursuit of our aims in the face of uncertainty. The particular issue on which I focus arises from recognition of the overwhelming importance and inscrutability of the indirect effects of our actions, conjoined with the plausibility of a permissive decision principle governing cases of deep uncertainty, known as the maximality rule. I conclude that (...)
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  6.  42
    The only ethical argument for positive δ? Partiality and pure time preference.Andreas Mogensen - 2022 - Philosophical Studies 179 (9):2731-2750.
    I consider the plausibility of discounting for kinship, the view that a positive rate of pure intergenerational time preference is justifiable in terms of agent-relative moral reasons relating to partiality between generations. I respond to Parfit's objections to discounting for kinship, but then highlight a number of apparent limitations of this approach. I show that these limitations largely fall away when we reflect on social discounting in the context of decisions that concern the global community as a whole, such as (...)
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  7.  88
    The Hinge of History Hypothesis: Reply to MacAskill.Andreas Mogensen - manuscript
    Some believe that the current era is uniquely important with respect to how well the rest of human history goes. Following Parfit, call this the Hinge of History Hypothesis. Recently, MacAskill has argued that our era is actually very unlikely to be especially influential in the way asserted by the Hinge of History Hypothesis. I respond to MacAskill, pointing to important unresolved ambiguities in his proposed definition of what it means for a time to be influential and criticizing the two (...)
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  8. The Paralysis Argument.Andreas Mogensen & William MacAskill - 2021 - Philosophers' Imprint 21 (15).
    Many everyday actions have major but unforeseeable long-term consequences. Some argue that this fact poses a serious problem for consequentialist moral theories. We argue that the problem for non-consequentialists is greater still. Standard non-consequentialist constraints on doing harm combined with the long-run impacts of everyday actions entail, absurdly, that we should try to do as little as possible. We call this the Paralysis Argument. After laying out the argument, we consider and respond to a number of objections. We then suggest (...)
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  9.  80
    Maximal Cluelessness.Andreas Mogensen - 2021 - Philosophical Quarterly 71 (1):141-162.
    I argue that many of the priority rankings that have been proposed by effective altruists seem to be in tension with apparently reasonable assumptions about the rational pursuit of our aims in the face of uncertainty. The particular issue on which I focus arises from recognition of the overwhelming importance and inscrutability of the indirect effects of our actions, conjoined with the plausibility of a permissive decision principle governing cases of deep uncertainty, known as the maximality rule. I conclude that (...)
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  10. Do evolutionary debunking arguments rest on a mistake about evolutionary explanations?Andreas L. Mogensen - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (7):1799-1817.
    Many moral philosophers accept the Debunking Thesis, according to which facts about natural selection provide debunking explanations for certain of our moral beliefs. I argue that philosophers who accept the Debunking Thesis beg important questions in the philosophy of biology. They assume that past selection can explain why you or I hold certain of the moral beliefs we do. A position advanced by many prominent philosophers of biology implies that this assumption is false. According to the Negative View, natural selection (...)
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  11. Contingency Anxiety and the Epistemology of Disagreement.Andreas L. Mogensen - 2017 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 98 (1):n/a-n/a.
    Upon discovering that certain beliefs we hold are contingent on arbitrary features of our background, we often feel uneasy. I defend the proposal that if such cases of contingency anxiety involve defeaters, this is because of the epistemic significance of disagreement. I note two hurdles to our accepting this Disagreement Hypothesis. Firstly, some cases of contingency anxiety apparently involve no disagreement. Secondly, the proposal may seem to make our awareness of the influence of arbitrary background factors irrelevant in determining whether (...)
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  12. Racial Profiling And Cumulative Injustice.Andreas Mogensen - 2017 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 98 (2):452-477.
    This paper tries to explain why racial profiling involves a serious injustice and to do so in a way that avoids the problems of existing philosophical accounts. An initially plausible view maintains that racial profiling is pro tanto wrong in and of itself by violating a constraint on fair treatment that is generally violated by acts of statistical discrimination based on ascribed characteristics. However, consideration of other cases involving statistical discrimination suggests that violating a constraint of this kind may not (...)
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  13.  18
    Contingency Anxiety and the Epistemology of Disagreement.Andreas L. Mogensen - 2016 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 97 (4):590-611.
    Upon discovering that certain beliefs we hold are contingent on arbitrary features of our background, we often feel uneasy. I defend the proposal that if such cases of contingency anxiety involve defeaters, this is because of the epistemic significance of disagreement. I note two hurdles to our accepting this Disagreement Hypothesis. Firstly, some cases of contingency anxiety apparently involve no disagreement. Secondly, the proposal may seem to make our awareness of the influence of arbitrary background factors irrelevant in determining whether (...)
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  14. Moral demands and the far future.Andreas L. Mogensen - 2020 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 103 (3):567-585.
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, EarlyView.
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  15. Evolutionary debunking arguments and the proximate/ultimate distinction.Andreas L. Mogensen - 2015 - Analysis 75 (2):196-203.
    Many philosophers believe that natural selection explanations debunk our moral beliefs or would do so if moral realism were true, relying on the assumption that explanations of this kind show that moral facts play no role in explaining human moral beliefs. Here I argue that this assumption rests on a confusion of proximate and ultimate explanatory factors. Insofar as evolutionary debunking arguments hinge on the assumption that moral facts play no role in explaining human moral beliefs, these arguments fall short.
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  16.  49
    Disagreements in Moral Intution as Defeaters.Andreas L. Mogensen - 2017 - Philosophical Quarterly 67 (267):282-302.
    People may disagree about moral issues because they have fundamentally different intuitions. I argue that we ought to suspend judgement in such cases. Since we trust our own moral intuitions without positive evidence of their reliability, we must necessarily extend this trust to the moral intuitions of others: a fundamental self-other asymmetry in moral epistemology is untenable. This ensures that disagreements in moral intuition are defeating. In addition, I argue that brute conflicts in moral intuition require suspension of judgement only (...)
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  17. Tough enough? Robust satisficing as a decision norm for long-term policy analysis.Andreas Mogensen & David Thorstad - manuscript
    This paper aims to open a dialogue between philosophers working in decision theory and operations researchers and engineers whose research addresses the topic of decision making under deep uncertainty. Specifically, we assess the recommendation to follow a norm of robust satisficing when making decisions under deep uncertainty in the context of decision analyses that rely on the tools of Robust Decision Making developed by Robert Lempert and colleagues at RAND. We discuss decision-theoretic and voting-theoretic motivations for robust satisficing, then use (...)
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  18. The weight of suffering.Andreas Mogensen - manuscript
    How should we weigh suffering against happiness? This paper highlights the existence of an argument from intuitively plausible axiological principles to the striking conclusion that in comparing different populations, there exists some depth of suffering that cannot be compensated for by any measure of well-being. In addition to a number of structural principles, the argument relies on two key premises. The first is the contrary of the so-called Reverse Repugnant Conclusion. The second is a principle according to which the addition (...)
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  19. Respect for others’ risk attitudes and the long-run future.Andreas Mogensen - manuscript
    When our choice affects some other person and the outcome is unknown, it has been argued that we should defer to their risk attitude, if known, or else default to use of a risk avoidant risk function. This, in turn, has been claimed to require the use of a risk avoidant risk function when making decisions that primarily affect future people, and to decrease the desirability of efforts to prevent human extinction, owing to the significant risks associated with continued human (...)
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  20.  93
    The paralysis argument.William MacAskill & Andreas Mogensen - manuscript
    Given plausible assumptions about the long-run impact of our everyday actions, we show that standard non-consequentialist constraints on doing harm entail that we should try to do as little as possible in our lives. We call this the Paralysis Argument. After laying out the argument, we consider and respond to a number of objections. We then suggest what we believe is the most promising response: to accept, in practice, a highly demanding morality of beneficence with a long-term focus. GPI Working (...)
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  21.  91
    Meaning, medicine, and merit.Andreas Mogensen - manuscript
    Given the inevitability of scarcity, should public institutions ration healthcare resources so as to prioritize those who contribute more to society? Intuitively, we may feel that this would be somehow inegalitarian. I argue that the egalitarian objection to prioritizing treatment on the basis of patients’ usefulness to others is best thought of as semiotic: i.e. as having to do with what this practice would mean, convey, or express about a person’s standing. I explore the implications of this conclusion when taken (...)
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  22.  77
    Should We Prevent Optimific Wrongs?Andreas Mogensen - 2016 - Utilitas 28 (2):215-226.
    Most people believe that some optimific acts are wrong. Since we are not permitted to perform wrong acts, we are not permitted to carry out optimific wrongs. Does the moral relevance of the distinction between action and omission nonetheless permit us to allow others to carry them out? I show that there exists a plausible argument supporting the conclusion that it does. To resist my argument, we would have to endorse a principle according to which, for any wrong action, there (...)
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  23.  18
    Staking our future: deontic long-termism and the non-identity problem.Andreas Mogensen - 2019 - Gpi Working Paper.
    Greaves and MacAskill argue for ​axiological longtermism​, according to which, in a wide class of decision contexts, the option that is ​ex ante best is the option that corresponds to the best lottery over histories from ​t onwards, where ​t ​is some date far in the future. They suggest that a ​stakes-sensitivity argument may be used to derive ​deontic longtermism from axiological longtermism, where deontic longtermism holds that in a wide class of decision contexts, the option one ought to choose (...)
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  24. Risk aversion, ambiguity aversion and longtermism.Hilary Greaves, William MacAskill & Andreas Mogensen - unknown
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  25.  16
    Population ethical intuitions.Lucius Caviola, David Althaus, Andreas L. Mogensen & Geoffrey P. Goodwin - 2022 - Cognition 218 (C):104941.
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  26.  30
    Meaning, Medicine, and Merit.Andreas L. Mogensen - 2020 - Utilitas 32 (1):90-107.
    Given the inevitability of scarcity, should public institutions ration healthcare resources so as to prioritize those who contribute more to society? Intuitively, we may feel that this would be somehow inegalitarian. I argue that the egalitarian objection to prioritizing treatment on the basis of patients’ usefulness to others is best thought of as semiotic: i.e. as having to do with what this practice would mean, convey, or express about a person's standing. I explore the implications of this conclusion when taken (...)
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  27. Is identity illusory?Andreas L. Mogensen - 2021 - European Journal of Philosophy 29 (1):55-73.
    Certain of our traits are thought more central to who we are: they comprise our individual identity. What makes these traits privileged in this way? What accounts for their identity centrality? Although considerations of identity play a key role in many different areas of moral philosophy, I argue that we currently have no satisfactory account of the basis of identity centrality. Nor should we expect one. Rather, we should adopt an error theory: we should concede that there is nothing in (...)
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  28.  30
    Respect for others' risk attitudes and the long‐run future.Andreas L. Mogensen - forthcoming - Noûs.
    When our choice affects some other person and the outcome is unknown, it has been argued that we should defer to their risk attitude, if known, or else default to use of a risk‐avoidant risk function. This, in turn, has been claimed to require the use of a risk‐avoidant risk function when making decisions that primarily affect future people, and to decrease the desirability of efforts to prevent human extinction, owing to the significant risks associated with continued human survival. I (...)
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  29.  4
    The Only Ethical Argument for Positive Delta?Andreas Mogensen - 2019 - Gpi Working Paper.
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  30.  25
    Do not go gentle: why the Asymmetry does not support anti-natalism.Andreas Mogensen - manuscript
    According to the Asymmetry, adding lives that are not worth living to the population makes the outcome pro tanto worse, but adding lives that are well worth living to the population does not make the outcome pro tanto better. It has been argued that the Asymmetry entails the desirability of human extinction. However, this argument rests on a misunderstanding of the kind of neutrality attributed to the addition of lives worth living by the Asymmetry. A similar misunderstanding is shown to (...)
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  31.  22
    Should you save the more useful? The effect of generality on moral judgments about rescue and indirect effects.Lucius Caviola, Stefan Schubert & Andreas Mogensen - 2021 - Cognition 206 (C):104501.
    Across eight experiments (N = 2310), we studied whether people would prioritize rescuing individuals who may be thought to contribute more to society. We found that participants were generally dismissive of general rules that prioritize more socially beneficial individuals, such as doctors instead of unemployed people. By contrast, participants were more supportive of one-off decisions to save the life of a more socially beneficial individual, even when such cases were the same as those covered by the rule. This generality effect (...)
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  32.  7
    The Hinge of History Hypothesis: Reply to MacAskill.Andreas L. Mogensen - 2023 - Analysis 84 (1):47-55.
    Some believe that the current era is uniquely important with respect to how well the rest of human history goes. Following Parfit, call this the Hinge of History Hypothesis. Recently, MacAskill has argued that our era is actually very unlikely to be especially influential in the way asserted by the Hinge of History Hypothesis. I respond to MacAskill, pointing to important unresolved ambiguities in his proposed definition of what it means for a time to be influential and criticizing the two (...)
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  33.  55
    The Brave Officer Rides Again.Andreas L. Mogensen - 2018 - Erkenntnis 83 (2):315-329.
    According to the Psychological Account of personal identity, personal identity across time is maintained by some form of psychological overlap or continuance. I show that the Psychological Account has trouble accommodating cases of transient retrograde amnesia. In such cases, the transitivity of psychological continuity may break down. I consider various means of responding to this problem, arguing that the best available response will undercut our ability to rely on intuitions about brain transplantation to support the Psychological Account. When the Psychological (...)
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  34. Tough enough? Robust satisficing as a decision norm for long-term policy analysis.Andreas L. Mogensen & David Thorstad - 2022 - Synthese 200 (1):1-26.
    This paper aims to open a dialogue between philosophers working in decision theory and operations researchers and engineers working on decision-making under deep uncertainty. Specifically, we assess the recommendation to follow a norm of robust satisficing when making decisions under deep uncertainty in the context of decision analyses that rely on the tools of Robust Decision-Making developed by Robert Lempert and colleagues at RAND. We discuss two challenges for robust satisficing: whether the norm might derive its plausibility from an implicit (...)
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  35.  35
    Evolution, Utilitarianism, and Normative Uncertainty: Tthe Practical Significance of Debunking Arguments.Andreas Mogensen & William MacAskill - 2022 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 22 (3).
    It has been argued that evolutionary considerations favour utilitarianism by selectively debunking its competitors. However, evolutionary considerations also seem to undermine the practical significance of utilitarianism, since commonsense beliefs about well-being seem like prime candidates for evolutionary debunking. We argue that the practical significance of utilitarianism is not undermined in this way if we understand the requirements of practical rationality as sensitive to normative uncertainty. We consider the view that rational decision-making under normative uncertainty requires maximizing expected choice-worthiness, as well (...)
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  36.  72
    How ecumenical expressivism confuses the trivial and the substantive.Andreas L. Mogensen - 2018 - Analysis 78 (4):666-674.
    I argue that there are cases in which ecumenical expressivism cannot distinguish between endorsement of certain trivial and substantive normative judgments. I consider the extent to which this problem generalizes across different formulations of the ecumenical view. I suggest that we may not be able to escape the problem if we hope to retain the ability to solve the Frege-Geach problem in the way promised by ecumenical expressivism.
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  37. Life years at stake : justifying and modelling acquisition of life-potential for DALYs.Andreas Mogensen - 2019 - In Espen Gamlund & Carl Tollef Solberg (eds.), Saving People from the Harm of Death. Oxford University Press.
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