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  1. Numbers, Fairness and Charity.Adam Hosein - manuscript
    This paper discusses the "numbers problem," the problem of explaining why you should save more people rather than fewer when forced to choose. Existing non-consequentialist approaches to the problem appeal to fairness to explain why. I argue that this is a mistake and that we can give a more satisfying answer by appealing to requirements of charity or beneficence.
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  2. Consequentialism, Time, and Value.David Killoren - manuscript
    Is consequentialism consistent with common-sense morality? I argue for a negative answer to this question. In Sections 1-4, I develop and defend a definition for “consequentialism.” In Section 5, I attempt to show that, given this definition, consequentialism and common-sense morality cannot be reconciled. In Section 6, I argue that, on the definition of consequentialism I defend, consequentialism should be understood, not as a view about the relationship between the deontic and the evaluative (as many philosophers suppose), but as a (...)
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  3. Ethics Without Numbers.Jacob M. Nebel - manuscript
    This paper develops an alternative to the standard framework of social welfare functionals. In the standard framework, a social or overall betterness ordering is assigned to each profile of utility functions, where utilities are real numbers. Different possibilities for the measurability and interpersonal comparability of well-being are captured, in this framework, by invariance conditions on social welfare functionals. But these invariance conditions are highly restrictive and it is not clear whether they really follow from the underlying measurability/comparability possibilities with which (...)
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  4. Exceeding Expectations: Stochastic Dominance as a General Decision Theory.Christian Tarsney - manuscript
    The principle that rational agents should maximize expected utility or choiceworthiness is intuitively plausible in many ordinary cases of decision-making under uncertainty. But it is less plausible in cases of extreme, low-probability risk (like Pascal's Mugging), and intolerably paradoxical in cases like the St. Petersburg and Pasadena games. In this paper I show that, under certain conditions, stochastic dominance reasoning can capture most of the plausible implications of expectational reasoning while avoiding most of its pitfalls. Specifically, given sufficient background uncertainty (...)
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  5. The Many, the Few, and the Nature of Value.Daniel Muñoz - forthcoming - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy.
    John Taurek argues that, in a choice between saving the many or the few, the numbers should not count. Some object that this view clashes with the transitivity of ‘better than’; others insist the clash can be avoided. I defend a middle ground: Taurek cannot have transitivity, but that doesn’t doom his view, given a suitable conception of value. I then formalize and explore two conceptions: one context-sensitive, one multidimensional.
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  6. Aggregation Without Interpersonal Comparisons of Well‐Being.Jacob M. Nebel - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
    This paper is about the role of interpersonal comparisons in Harsanyi's aggregation theorem. Harsanyi interpreted his theorem to show that a broadly utilitarian theory of distribution must be true even if there are no interpersonal comparisons of well-being. How is this possible? The orthodox view is that it is not. Some argue that the interpersonal comparability of well-being is hidden in Harsanyi's premises. Others argue that it is a surprising conclusion of Harsanyi's theorem, which is not presupposed by any one (...)
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  7. Sorites On What Matters.Theron Pummer - forthcoming - In Jeff McMahan, Timothy Campbell, Ketan Ramakrishnan & Jimmy Goodrich (eds.), Ethics and Existence: The Legacy of Derek Parfit. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    Ethics in the tradition of Derek Parfit’s Reasons and Persons is riddled with sorites-like arguments, which lead us by what seem innocent steps to seemingly false conclusions. Take, for example, spectrum arguments for the Repugnant Conclusion that appeal to slight differences in quality of life. Several authors have taken the view that, since spectrum arguments are structurally analogous to sorites arguments, the correct response to spectrum arguments is structurally analogous to the correct response to sorites arguments. I argue against this (...)
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  8. Utilitarianism Without Moral Aggregation.Johan E. Gustafsson - 2021 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 51 (4):256-269.
    Is an outcome where many people are saved and one person dies better than an outcome where the one is saved and the many die? According to the standard utilitarian justification, the former is better because it has a greater sum total of well-being. This justification involves a controversial form of moral aggregation, because it is based on a comparison between aggregates of different people's well-being. Still, an alternative justification-the Argument for Best Outcomes-does not involve moral aggregation. I extend the (...)
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  9. Healthy Nails Versus Long Lives: An Analysis of a Dutch Priority Setting Proposal.Alex Voorhoeve - 2020 - In Nir Eyal, Samia A. Hurst, Christopher Murray, S. Andrew Schroeder & Daniel Wikler (eds.), Measuring the Global Burden of Disease: Philosophical Dimensions. New York, NY, USA: pp. 273-292.
    How should governments balance saving people from very large individual disease burdens (such as an early death) against saving them from middling burdens (such as erectile dysfunction) and minor burdens (such as nail fungus)? This chapter considers this question through an analysis of a priority-setting proposal in the Netherlands, on which avoiding a multitude of middling burdens takes priority over saving one person from early death, but no number of very small burdens can take priority over avoiding one death. It (...)
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  10. No Free Lunch: The Significance of Tiny Contributions.Zach Barnett - 2018 - Analysis 78 (1):3-13.
    There is a well-known moral quandary concerning how to account for the rightness or wrongness of acts that clearly contribute to some morally significant outcome – but which each seem too small, individually, to make any meaningful difference. One consequentialist-friendly response to this problem is to deny that there could ever be a case of this type. This paper pursues this general strategy, but in an unusual way. Existing arguments for the consequentialist-friendly position are sorites-style arguments. Such arguments imagine varying (...)
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  11. Limited Aggregation and Risk.Seth Lazar - 2018 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 46 (2):117-159.
    Many of us believe (1) Saving a life is more important than averting any number of headaches. But what about risky cases? Surely: (2) In a single choice, if the risk of death is low enough, and the number of headaches at stake high enough, one should avert the headaches rather than avert the risk of death. And yet, if we will face enough iterations of cases like that in (2), in the long run some of those small risks of (...)
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  12. Spectrum Arguments and Hypersensitivity.Theron Pummer - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (7):1729-1744.
    Larry Temkin famously argues that what he calls spectrum arguments yield strong reason to reject Transitivity, according to which the ‘all-things-considered better than’ relation is transitive. Spectrum arguments do reveal that the conjunctions of independently plausible claims are inconsistent with Transitivity. But I argue that there is very strong independent reason to reject such conjunctions of claims, and thus that the fact that they are inconsistent with Transitivity does not yield strong reason to reject Transitivity.
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  13. Epistemic Consequentialism: Haters Gonna Hate.Nathaniel Sharadin - 2018 - In Christos Kyriacou & Robin McKenna (eds.), Metaepistemology: Realism & Antirealism. Palgrave MacMillan. pp. 121-143.
    Epistemic consequentialism has been charged with ignoring the epistemic separateness of propositions and with (thereby) allowing trade-offs between propositions. Here, I do two things. First, I investigate the metaphor of the epistemic separateness of propositions. I argue that either (i) the metaphor is meaningfully unpacked in a way that is modeled on the moral separateness of persons, in which case it doesn’t support a ban on trade-offs or (ii) it isn’t meaningfully unpacked, in which case it really doesn’t support a (...)
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  14. Balancing Small Against Large Burdens.Alex Voorhoeve - 2018 - Behavioural Public Policy 2 (1):125-142.
    Common principles for resource allocation in health care can prioritize the alleviation of small health burdens over lifesaving treatment. I argue that there is some evidence that these principles are at odds with a sizable share of public opinion, which holds that saving a life should take priority over any number of cures for minor ailments. I propose two possible explanations for this opinion, one debunking and one vindicatory. I also outline how well-designed surveys and moral inquiry could help decide (...)
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  15. Why One Should Count Only Claims with Which One Can Sympathize.Alex Voorhoeve - 2017 - Public Health Ethics 10 (2):148-156.
    When one faces competing claims of varying strength on public resources for health, which claims count? This paper proposes the following answer. One should count, or aggregate, a person’s claim just in case one could sympathize with her desire to prioritize her own claim over the strongest competing claim. It argues that this principle yields appealing case judgments and has a plausible grounding in both sympathetic identification with each person, taken separately, and respect for the person for whom most is (...)
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  16. Value Receptacles.Richard Yetter Chappell - 2015 - Noûs 49 (2):322-332.
    Utilitarianism is often rejected on the grounds that it fails to respect the separateness of persons, instead treating people as mere “receptacles of value”. I develop several different versions of this objection, and argue that, despite their prima facie plausibility, they are all mistaken. Although there are crude forms of utilitarianism that run afoul of these objections, I advance a new form of the view—‘token-pluralistic utilitarianism’—that does not.
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  17. Why Sore Throats Don't Aggregate Against a Life, but Arms Do.Alex Voorhoeve - 2015 - Journal of Medical Ethics 41 (6):492-493.
    When do claims to be saved of a small or moderate harm aggregate against a competing claim to be saved from an early death? In this short response to Kamm's Bioethical Prescriptions, I argue for the following answer: aggregation of weaker claims against a life is permitted just in case, in a one-to-one contest, a person with a weaker claim would have a personal prerogative to prioritize her claim over a stranger’s competing claim to life.
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  18. Whole-Life Welfarism.Ben Bramble - 2014 - American Philosophical Quarterly 51 (1):63-74.
    In this paper, I set out and defend a new theory of value, whole-life welfarism. According to this theory, something is good only if it makes somebody better off in some way in his life considered as a whole. By focusing on lifetime, rather than momentary, well-being, a welfarist can solve two of the most vexing puzzles in value theory, The Badness of Death and The Problem of Additive Aggregation.
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  19. Relevance and Non-Consequentialist Aggregation.J. Paul Kelleher - 2014 - Utilitas 26 (4):385-408.
    Interpersonal aggregation involves the combining and weighing of benefits and losses to multiple individuals in the course of determining what ought to be done. Most consequentialists embrace thoroughgoing interpersonal aggregation, the view that any large benefit to each of a few people can be morally outweighed by allocating any smaller benefit to each of many others, so long as this second group is sufficiently large. This would permit letting one person die in order to cure some number of mild headaches (...)
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  20. Is There an Obligation to Reduce One’s Individual Carbon Footprint?Anne Schwenkenbecher - 2014 - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 17 (2):168-188.
    Moral duties concerning climate change mitigation are – for good reasons – conventionally construed as duties of institutional agents, usually states. Yet, in both scholarly debate and political discourse, it has occasionally been argued that the moral duties lie not only with states and institutional agents, but also with individual citizens. This argument has been made with regard to mitigation efforts, especially those reducing greenhouse gases. This paper focuses on the question of whether individuals in industrialized countries have duties to (...)
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  21. How Should We Aggregate Competing Claims?Alex Voorhoeve - 2014 - Ethics 125 (1):64-87.
    Many believe that we ought to save a large number from being permanently bedridden rather than save one from death. Many also believe that we ought to save one from death rather than a multitude from a very minor harm, no matter how large this multitude. I argue that a principle I call “Aggregate Relevant Claims” satisfactorily explains these judgments. I offer a rationale for this principle and defend it against objections.
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  22. Intuitions About Large Number Cases.Theron Pummer - 2013 - Analysis 73 (1):37-46.
    Is there some large number of very mild hangnail pains, each experienced by a separate person, which would be worse than two years of excruciating torture, experienced by a single person? Many people have the intuition that the answer to this question is No. However, a host of philosophers have argued that, because we have no intuitive grasp of very large numbers, we should not trust such intuitions. I argue that there is decent intuitive support for the No answer, which (...)
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  23. Content Aggregation, Visualization and Emergent Properties in Computer Simulations.Gordana Dodig-Crnkovic, Juan M. Durán & D. Slutej - 2010 - In Kai-Mikael Jää-Aro & Thomas Larsson (eds.), SIGRAD 2010 – Content aggregation and visualization. Linköping University Electronic Press. pp. 77-83.
    With the rapidly growing amounts of information, visualization is becoming increasingly important, as it allows users to easily explore and understand large amounts of information. However the field of information visualiza- tion currently lacks sufficient theoretical foundations. This article addresses foundational questions connecting information visualization with computing and philosophy studies. The idea of multiscale information granula- tion is described based on two fundamental concepts: information (structure) and computation (process). A new information processing paradigm of Granular Computing enables stepwise increase of (...)
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  24. On the Repugnance of the Repugnant Conclusion.Thomas Søbirk Petersen - 2006 - Theoria 72 (2):126-137.
    The aim of this paper is to discuss the plausibility of a certain position in the philosophical literature within which the Repugnant Conclusion is treated, not as repugnant, but as an acceptable implication of the total welfare principle. I will confine myself to focus primarily on Törbjörn Tännsjö’s presentation. First, I reconstruct Tännsjö’s view concerning the repugnance of the RC in two arguments. The first argument is criticized for (a) addressing the wrong comparison, (b) relying on the controversial claim that (...)
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  25. Overpopulation and the Quality of Life.Derek Parfit - 1986 - In Peter Singer (ed.), Applied Ethics. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 145-164.
    How many people should there be? Can there be overpopulation: too many people living? I shall present a puzzling argument about these questions, show how this argument can be strengthened, then sketch a possible reply.
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  26. Once More Into the Numbers.Richard Brook - manuscript
    Abstract Tom Dougherty observes that challenges to counting the numbers often cite John Taurek’s 1977 article, “Should the Numbers Count.” Dougherty, though sympathetic to Taurek’s (and others) critique of consequentialism’s aggregating good across individuals, defends a non-consequentialist principle for addition he calls “the Ends Principle. Take the case (he labels “Drug”) when an agent, possessing a dose of a lifesaving drug, can save one person with the entire dose, or two people, each of whom only need half the dose. Dougherty (...)
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