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Profile: Stuart Rachels (University of Alabama)
  1. Counterexamples to the Transitivity of Better Than.Stuart Rachels - 1998 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 76 (1):71 – 83.
    Ethicists and economists commonly assume that if A is all things considered better than B, and B is all things considered better than C, then A is all things considered better than C. Call this principle Transitivity. Although it has great conceptual, intuitive, and empirical appeal, I argue against it. Larry S. Temkin explains how three types of ethical principle, which cannot be dismissed a priori, threaten Transitivity: (a) principles implying that in some cases different factors are relevant to comparing (...)
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  2.  48
    A Defense of Two Optimistic Claims in Ethical Theory.Stuart Rachels - 2003 - Philosophical Studies 112 (1):1-30.
    I aim to show that (i) there are good ways to argue about what has intrinsic value; and (ii) good ethical arguments needn't make ethical assumptions. I support (i) and(ii) by rebutting direct attacks, by discussing nine plausible ways to argue about intrinsic value, and by arguing for pains intrinsic badness without making ethical assumptions. If (i) and (ii) are correct, then ethical theory has more resources than many philosophers have thought: empirical evidence, and evidence bearing on intrinsic value. With (...)
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  3. Six Theses About Pleasure.Stuart Rachels - 2004 - Philosophical Perspectives 18 (1):247-267.
    I defend these claims: (1) 'Pleasure' has exactly one English antonym: 'unpleasure.' (2) Pleasure is the most convincing example of an organic unity. (3) The hedonic calculus is a joke. (4) An important type of pleasure is background pleasure. (5) Pleasures in bad company are still good. (6) Higher pleasures aren't pleasures (and if they were, they wouldn't be higher). Thesis (1) merely concerns terminology, but theses (2)-(6) are substantive, evaluative claims.
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  4. Is Unpleasantness Intrinsic to Unpleasant Experiences?Stuart Rachels - 2000 - Philosophical Studies 99 (2):187-210.
    Unpleasant experiences include backaches, moments of nausea, moments of nervousness, phantom pains, and so on. What does their unpleasantness consist in? The unpleasantness of an experience has been thought to consist in: (1) its representing bodily damage; (2) its inclining the subject to fight its continuation; (3) the subject's disliking it; (4) features intrinsic to it. I offer compelling objections to (1) and (2) and less compelling objections to (3). I defend (4) against five challenging objections and offer two reasons (...)
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  5. The Repugnant Conclusion: Essays on Population Ethics.Stuart Rachels - 2004
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  6. A Set of Solutions to Parfit's Problems.Stuart Rachels - 2001 - Noûs 35 (2):214–238.
    In Reasons and Persons, Derek Parfit cannot find a theory of well-being that solves the Non-Identity Problem, the Repugnant Conclusion, the Absurd Conclusion, and all forms of the Mere Addition Paradox. I describe a “Quasi-Maximizing” theory that solves them. This theory includes (i) the denial that being better than is transitive and (ii) the “Conflation Principle,” according to which alternative B is hedonically better than alternative C if it would be better for someone to have all the B-experiences. (i) entails (...)
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  7.  12
    Counterexamples to the Transitivity of 'Better Than'.Stuart Rachels - 2005 - In Toni Rønnow-Rasmussen & Michael J. Zimmerman (eds.), Recent Work on Intrinsic Value. Springer. pp. 249--263.
  8. Nothing Matters in Survival.Torin Alter & Stuart Rachels - 2005 - Journal of Ethics 9 (3-4):311-330.
    Do I have a special reason to care about my future, as opposed to yours? We reject the common belief that I do. Putting our thesis paradoxically, we say that nothing matters in survival: nothing in our continued existence justifies any special self-concern. Such an "extreme" view is standardly tied to ideas about the metaphysics of persons, but not by us. After rejecting various arguments against our thesis, we conclude that simplicity decides in its favor. Throughout the essay we honor (...)
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  9.  38
    Is It Good to Make Happy People?Stuart Rachels - 1998 - Bioethics 12 (2):93-110.
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  10. Vegetarianism.Stuart Rachels - unknown
    1. Animal Cruelty Industrial farming is appallingly abusive to animals. Pigs. In America, nine-tenths of pregnant sows live in “gestation crates. ” These pens are so small that the animals can barely move. When the sows are first crated, they may flail around, in an attempt to get out. But soon they give up. Crated pigs often show signs of depression: they engage meaningless, repetitive behavior, like chewing the air or biting the bars of the stall. The sows live like (...)
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  11.  86
    The Immorality of Having Children.Stuart Rachels - 2014 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 17 (3):567-582.
    This paper defends the Famine Relief Argument against Having Children, which goes as follows: conceiving and raising a child costs hundreds of thousands of dollars; that money would be far better spent on famine relief; therefore, conceiving and raising children is immoral. It is named after Peter Singer’s Famine Relief Argument because it might be a special case of Singer’s argument and because it exposes the main practical implication of Singer’s argument—namely, that we should not become parents. I answer five (...)
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  12. Repugnance or Intransitivity: A Repugnant But Forced Choice.Stuart Rachels - 2004 - In Jesper Ryberg Torbjorn Tannsjo (ed.), The Repugnant Conclusion: Essays on Population Ethics. Kluwer Academic Publishers.
    A set of arguments shows that either the Repugnant Conclusion and its variants are true or the better-than relation isn't transitive. Which is it? This is the most important question in population ethics. The answer will point the way to Parfit's elusive Theory X.
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  13. On Three Alleged Theories of Rational Behavior.Stuart Rachels - 2009 - Utilitas 21 (4):506-520.
    What behavior is rational? It’s rational to act ethically, some think. Others endorse instrumentalism — it is rational to pursue one’s goals. Still others say that acting rationally always involves promoting one’s self-interest. Many philosophers have given each of these answers. But these answers don’t really conflict; they aren’t vying to describe some shared concept or to solve some mutually acknowledged problem. In so far as this is debated, it is a pseudo-debate. The different uses of ‘rational action’ differ merely (...)
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  14.  54
    Review of Mary Warnock, Making Babies: Is There a Right to Have Children? [REVIEW]Stuart Rachels - 2005 - Philosophical Review 114 (2):130-132.
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  15.  29
    The Reviled Art.Stuart Rachels - 2008 - In Benjamin Hale (ed.), Philosophy Looks at Chess. Open Court Press.
    to appear in Chess and Philosophy, edited by Benjamin Hale (Open Court Press, 2008). Abstract: This is a popular essay about chess, beauty, and why the game of chess is so unpopular in America.
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  16.  85
    Nagelian Arguments Against Egoism.Stuart Rachels - 2002 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 80 (2):191 – 208.
    On ethical egoism, the fact that I would suffer is no reason by itself for you not to torture me. This may seem implausible—monstrous, even—but what evidence can we offer against it? Here I examine several arguments which receive some expression in Thomas Nagel’s work. Each tries to show that a normative reason to end my pain is a reason for all agents. The arguments in Section 1 emphasize reasons that don’t entail agents and thus purportedly apply to all agents. (...)
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  17.  82
    Epistemicism and the Combined Spectrum.Alter Torin & Rachels Stuart - 2004 - Ratio 17 (3):241-255.
    Derek Parfit's combined-spectrum argument seems to conflict with epistemicism, a viable theory of vagueness. While Parfit argues for the indeterminacy of personhood, epistemicism denies indeterminacy. But, we argue, the linguistically based determinacy that epistemicism supports lacks the sort of normative or ontological significance that concerns Parfit. Thus, we reformulate his argument to make it consistent with epistemicism. We also dispute Roy Sorensen's suggestion that Parfit's argument relies on an assumption that fuels resistance to epistemicism, namely, that 'the magnitude of a (...)
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  18.  37
    Chapter 4: Is It Good to Make Happy People?Stuart Rachels - 1998 - In Hedonic Value. Syracuse University.
    This is the fourth chapter of my dissertation, Hedonic Value (Director: Jonathan Bennett), Syracuse University, August, 1998. It is an unpublished revision of my "Is It Good to Make Happy People?" Bioethics 12 (April 1998), pp. 93-110. I systematically lay out and assess all the main arguments on each side and conclude that, Yes, it is good to add individuals to the population who would have lives worth living.
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  19.  57
    Review: Perspectives on Equality: Constructing a Relational Theory. [REVIEW]Stuart Rachels - 2002 - Mind 3 (442):443-446.
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  20.  66
    Intransitivity.Stuart Rachels - 2001 - In Lawrence C. Becker Mary Becker & Charlotte Becker (eds.), Encyclopedia of Ethics, Volume 2. Routledge.
    According to Transitivity, if A is better than B, and B is better than C, then A is better than C. We may understand “better than” as short for any of the following: “intrinsically better than,” “all things considered better than,” “hedonically better than,” and “better for a person than.” The same puzzle arises on each interpretation. Transitivity seems entrenched in our conceptual scheme, if not analytically true; its failure implies, implausibly, that some possibilities cannot be ranked in terms of (...)
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  21.  55
    Review of Mulgan, Tim, Future People: A Moderate Consequentialist Account of Our Obligations to Future Generations. [REVIEW]Stuart Rachels - 2007 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 85 (3):506-509.
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  22.  16
    Making Babies: Is There a Right to Have Children? [REVIEW]Stuart Rachels - 2005 - Philosophical Review 114 (2):288-290.
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  23.  8
    Essays by Stuart Rachels.Stuart Rachels - unknown
    Over the last fifty years, traditional farming has been replaced by industrial farming. Unlike traditional farming, industrial farming is abhorrently cruel to animals, environmentally destructive, awful for rural America, and wretched for human health. In this essay, I document those facts, explain why the industrial system has become dominant, and argue that we should boycott industrially produced meat. Also, I argue that we should not even kill animals humanely for food, given our uncertainty about which creatures possess a right to (...)
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  24.  14
    Review Essay: Contingent Future Persons, Edited by Nick Fotion and Jan C. Heller.Stuart Rachels - 1999 - Bioethics 13 (2):160–167.
  25.  13
    Introduction.Stuart Rachels - 2005 - Journal of Ethics 9 (3-4):308-309.
    Introduction to a volume of papers presented at the James Rachels Memorial Conference on September 24th-25th, 2004 in Birmingham, Alabama.
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  26. Bragging and Whining.Stuart Rachels - 2008 - In Benjamin Hale (ed.), Philosophy Looks at Chess. Open Court Press. pp. 209.
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  27. Hedonic Value.Stuart Rachels - 1998 - Syracuse University.
    In this essay I support, develop and apply a theory of hedonic value. These tasks are interwoven, but principally, I support the theory in chapters 1-4, develop it in chapters 5 and 6, and apply it to a challenging cluster of problems in chapter 7. ;Sentient experience, I suggest in chapter 1, provides key evidence for founding ethics: a severely painful experience gives its subject evidence that it's bad in some way. Moreover, similar considerations, as well as analogies, support thinking (...)
     
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  28. Perspectives on Equality: Constructing a Relational Theory. [REVIEW]Stuart Rachels - 2002 - Mind 111 (442):443-446.
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