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Pareto Principles in Infinite Ethics

Dissertation, New York University (2018)

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  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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • The Evidentialist's Wager.William MacAskill, Aron Vallinder, Caspar Oesterheld, Carl Shulman & Johannes Treutlein - 2021 - Journal of Philosophy 118 (6):320-342.
    Suppose that an altruistic agent who is uncertain between evidential and causal decision theory finds herself in a situation where these theories give conflicting verdicts. We argue that even if she has significantly higher credence in CDT, she should nevertheless act in accordance with EDT. First, we claim that the appropriate response to normative uncertainty is to hedge one's bets. That is, if the stakes are much higher on one theory than another, and the credences you assign to each of (...)
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  • Literal self-deception.Maiya Jordan - 2020 - Analysis 80 (2):248-256.
    It is widely assumed that a literal understanding of someone’s self-deception that p yields the following contradiction. Qua self-deceiver, she does not believe that p, yet – qua self-deceived – she does believe that p. I argue that this assumption is ill-founded. Literalism about self-deception – the view that self-deceivers literally self-deceive – is not committed to this contradiction. On the contrary, properly understood, literalism excludes it.
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  • Consequentialism in infinite worlds.Adam Jonsson & Martin Peterson - 2020 - Analysis 80 (2):240-248.
    We show that in infinite worlds the following three conditions are incompatible: The spatiotemporal ordering of individuals is morally irrelevant. All else being equal, the act of bringing about a good outcome with a high probability is better than the act of bringing about the same outcome with a low probability. One act is better than another only if there is a nonzero probability that it brings about a better outcome. The impossibility of combining these conditions shows that it is (...)
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  • Unbounded Utility.Zachary Goodsell - 2023 - Dissertation, University of Southern California
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  • Non-Additive Axiologies in Large Worlds.Christian J. Tarsney & Teruji Thomas - 2020
    Is the overall value of a world just the sum of values contributed by each value-bearing entity in that world? Additively separable axiologies (like total utilitarianism, prioritarianism, and critical level views) say 'yes', but non-additive axiologies (like average utilitarianism, rank-discounted utilitarianism, and variable value views) say 'no'. This distinction is practically important: additive axiologies support 'arguments from astronomical scale' which suggest (among other things) that it is overwhelmingly important for humanity to avoid premature extinction and ensure the existence of a (...)
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