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Elliott Thornley
Oxford University
  1. The impossibility of a satisfactory population prospect axiology (independently of Finite Fine-Grainedness).Elliott Thornley - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178 (11):3671-3695.
    Arrhenius’s impossibility theorems purport to demonstrate that no population axiology can satisfy each of a small number of intuitively compelling adequacy conditions. However, it has recently been pointed out that each theorem depends on a dubious assumption: Finite Fine-Grainedness. This assumption states that there exists a finite sequence of slight welfare differences between any two welfare levels. Denying Finite Fine-Grainedness makes room for a lexical population axiology which satisfies all of the compelling adequacy conditions in each theorem. Therefore, Arrhenius’s theorems (...)
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  2. A Dilemma for Lexical and Archimedean Views in Population Axiology.Elliott Thornley - 2022 - Economics and Philosophy 38 (3):395-415.
    Lexical views in population axiology can avoid the Repugnant Conclusion without violating Transitivity or Separability. However, they imply a dilemma: either some good life is better than any number of slightly worse lives, or else the ‘at least as good as’ relation on populations is radically incomplete. In this paper, I argue that Archimedean views face an analogous dilemma. I thus conclude that the lexical dilemma gives us little reason to prefer Archimedean views. Even if we give up on lexicality, (...)
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  3. Critical Levels, Critical Ranges, and Imprecise Exchange Rates in Population Axiology.Elliott Thornley - 2022 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 22 (3).
    According to Critical-Level Views in population axiology, an extra life improves a population only if that life’s welfare exceeds some fixed ‘critical level.’ An extra life at the critical level leaves the new population equally good as the original. According to Critical-Range Views, an extra life improves a population only if that life’s welfare exceeds some fixed ‘critical range.’ An extra life within the critical range leaves the new population incommensurable with the original. -/- In this paper, I sharpen some (...)
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  4. Is Global Consequentialism More Expressive Than Act Consequentialism?Elliott Thornley - 2022 - Analysis 82 (1):75-84.
    Act consequentialism states that an act is right if and only if the expected value of its outcome is at least as great as the expected value of any other act’s outcome. Two objections to this view are as follows. The first is that act consequentialism cannot account for our normative ambivalence in cases where agents perform the right act out of bad motives. The second is that act consequentialism is silent on questions of character: questions like ‘What are the (...)
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  5. The Moral Case for Long-Term Thinking.Hilary Greaves, William MacAskill & Elliott Thornley - forthcoming - In Natalie Cargill & Tyler M. John (eds.), The Long View: Essays on Policy, Philanthropy, and the Long-Term Future. London: FIRST. pp. 19-28.
    This chapter makes the case for strong longtermism: the claim that, in many situations, impact on the long-run future is the most important feature of our actions. Our case begins with the observation that an astronomical number of people could exist in the aeons to come. Even on conservative estimates, the expected future population is enormous. We then add a moral claim: all the consequences of our actions matter. In particular, the moral importance of what happens does not depend on (...)
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    Erratum To: Is Global Consequentialism More Expressive Than Act Consequentialism?Elliott Thornley - 2022 - Analysis 82 (2):299-299.