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Hayden Wilkinson
Oxford University
  1. In Defense of Fanaticism.Hayden Wilkinson - 2022 - Ethics 132 (2):445-477.
    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 (...)
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  2. Infinite Aggregation and Risk.Hayden Wilkinson - 2023 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 101 (2):340-359.
    For aggregative theories of moral value, it is a challenge to rank worlds that each contain infinitely many valuable events. And, although there are several existing proposals for doing so, few provide a cardinal measure of each world's value. This raises the even greater challenge of ranking lotteries over such worlds—without a cardinal value for each world, we cannot apply expected value theory. How then can we compare such lotteries? To date, we have just one method for doing so (proposed (...)
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  3. The moral inefficacy of carbon offsetting.Tyler M. John, Amanda Askell & Hayden Wilkinson - forthcoming - Australasian Journal of Philosophy.
    Many real-world agents recognise that they impose harms by choosing to emit carbon, e.g., by flying. Yet many do so anyway, and then attempt to make things right by offsetting those harms. Such offsetters typically believe that, by offsetting, they change the deontic status of their behaviour, making an otherwise impermissible action permissible. Do they succeed in practice? Some philosophers have argued that they do, since their offsets appear to reverse the adverse effects of their emissions. But we show that (...)
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  4. Market Harms and Market Benefits.Hayden Wilkinson - 2022 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 50 (2):202-238.
  5. Infinite aggregation.Hayden Wilkinson - 2021 - Dissertation, Australian National University
    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 (...)
     
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  6. Chaos, ad infinitum.Hayden Wilkinson - manuscript
    Our universe is both chaotic and (most likely) infinite in space and time. But it is within this setting that we must make moral decisions. This presents problems. The first: due to our universe's chaotic nature, our actions often have long-lasting, unpredictable effects; and this means we typically cannot say which of two actions will turn out best in the long run. The second problem: due to the universe's infinite dimensions, and infinite population therein, we cannot compare outcomes by simply (...)
     
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  7. Infinite aggregation: expanded addition.Hayden Wilkinson - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 178 (6):1917-1949.
    How might we extend aggregative moral theories to compare infinite worlds? In particular, how might we extend them to compare worlds with infinite spatial volume, infinite temporal duration, and infinitely many morally valuable phenomena? When doing so, we face various impossibility results from the existing literature. For instance, the view we adopt can endorse the claim that worlds are made better if we increase the value in every region of space and time, or that they are made better if we (...)
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  8. Aggregation in an infinite, relativistic universe.Hayden Wilkinson - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-29.
    Aggregative moral theories face a series of devastating problems when we apply them in a physically realistic setting. According to current physics, our universe is likely _infinitely large_, and will contain infinitely many morally valuable events. But standard aggregative theories are ill-equipped to compare outcomes containing infinite total value so, applied in a realistic setting, they cannot compare any outcomes a real-world agent must ever choose between. This problem has been discussed extensively, and non-standard aggregative theories proposed to overcome it. (...)
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  9.  72
    Longtermism in an infinite world.Christian Tarsney & Hayden Wilkinson - forthcoming - In Hilary Greaves, Jacob Barrett & David Thorstad (eds.), Essays on Longtermism. Oxford University Press.
    The case for longtermism depends on the vast potential scale of the future. But that same vastness also threatens to undermine the case for longtermism: If the universe as a whole, or the future in particular, contain infinite quantities of value and/or disvalue, then many of the theories of value that support longtermism (e.g., risk-neutral total utilitarianism) seem to imply that none of our available options are better than any other. If so, then even apparently vast effects on the far (...)
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  10. Can an evidentialist be risk-averse?Hayden Wilkinson - manuscript
    Two key questions of normative decision theory are: 1) whether the probabilities relevant to decision theory are evidential or causal; and 2) whether agents should be risk-neutral, and so maximise the expected value of the outcome, or instead risk-averse (or otherwise sensitive to risk). These questions are typically thought to be independent---that our answer to one bears little on our answer to the other. But there is a surprising argument that they are not. In this paper, I show that evidential (...)
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  11. Can risk aversion survive the long run?Hayden Wilkinson - 2022 - Philosophical Quarterly 73 (2):625-647.
    Can it be rational to be risk-averse? It seems plausible that the answer is yes—that normative decision theory should accommodate risk aversion. But there is a seemingly compelling class of arguments against our most promising methods of doing so. These long-run arguments point out that, in practice, each decision an agent makes is just one in a very long sequence of such decisions. Given this form of dynamic choice situation, and the (Strong) Law of Large Numbers, they conclude that those (...)
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    The unexpected value of the future.Hayden Wilkinson - manuscript
    Various philosophers accept moral views that are impartial, additive, and risk-neutral with respect to moral betterness. But, if that risk neutrality is spelt out according to expected value theory alone, such views face a dire reductio ad absurdum. If the expected sum of value in humanity's future is undefined--if, e.g., the probability distribution over possible values of the future resembles the Pasadena game, or a Cauchy distribution--then those views say that no option is ever better than any other. And, as (...)
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  13. A critical approach to critiquing economics.Hayden Wilkinson & Geoffrey Brennan - forthcoming - In P. Róna & L. Zsolnai (eds.), Virtues and Economics 4. Springer.