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The possibility of parity

Ethics 112 (4):659-688 (2002)

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  1. Indeterminacy and the Principle of Need.Herlitz Anders - 2017 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 38 (1):1-14.
    The principle of need—the idea that resources should be allocated according to need—is often invoked in priority setting in the health care sector. In this article, I argue that a reasonable principle of need must be indeterminate, and examine three different ways that this can be dealt with: appendicizing the principle with further principles, imposing determinacy, or empowering decision makers. I argue that need must be conceptualized as a composite property composed of at least two factors: health shortfall and capacity (...)
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  • Incommensurability and Moral Value.Mark R. Reiff - 2014 - Politics, Philosophy and Economics 13 (3):237-268.
    Some theorists believe that there is a plurality of values, and that in many circumstances these values are incommensurable, or at least incomparable. Others believe that all values are reducible to a single super-value, or that even if there is a plurality of irreducible values these values are commensurable. But I will argue that both sides have got it wrong. Values are neither commensurable nor incommensurable, at least not in the way most people think. We are free to believe in (...)
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  • Exploitation and Effective Altruism.Daniel Muñoz - 2021 - Politics, Philosophy and Economics 20 (4):409-423.
    How could it be wrong to exploit—say, by paying sweatshop wages—if the exploited party benefits? How could it be wrong to do something gratuitously bad—like giving to a wasteful charity—if that is better than permissibly doing nothing? Joe Horton argues that these puzzles, known as the Exploitation Problem and All or Nothing Problem, have no unified answer. I propose one and pose a challenge for Horton’s take on the Exploitation Problem.
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  • In Defense of the Trichotomy Thesis.Justin Klocksiem - 2010 - Acta Analytica 25 (3):317-327.
    According to a standard picture, for any two comparable objects and a basis for comparison, either one is greater than the other or they are equal with respect to the basis. This picture has been called the Trichotomy Thesis, and although it is intuitive and plausible, it has been called into question by such philosophers as Derek Parfit, James Griffin, Joseph Raz, and Ruth Chang. Chang’s discussion is particularly rich, for she proposes and provides a detailed account of a possible (...)
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  • ‘Incommensurability’ and Vagueness: Is the Vagueness View Defensible? [REVIEW]Mozaffar Qizilbash - 2014 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 17 (1):141-153.
    The vagueness view holds that when evaluative comparisons are hard, there is indeterminacy about which comparative relation holds. It is sceptical about whether there are any incommensurate items (in some domain). The sceptical element of John Broome’s version of this view rests on a controversial principle. Robert Sugden advances a similar view which does not depend on this principle. Sugden’s argument fails as a vagueness view because it assumes rather than shows that there are no incommensurate items (in some domain). (...)
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  • Comparing Suffering Across Species.John Nolt - 2013 - Between the Species 16 (1):8.
    Moral life often presents us with trade-offs between the sufferings of some individuals and the sufferings of others. Researchers may need to consider, for example, whether the suffering imposed on animals by a certain line of medical experimentation justifies the relief that the resulting discoveries may bring to others. Often in such cases, the suffering of some individuals is incomparable with—that is neither greater than nor less than nor equal to—the suffering of others. While this complicates moral decision-making across species, (...)
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  • Imprecise Lexical Superiority and the (Slightly Less) Repugnant Conclusion.James Fanciullo - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (8):2103-2117.
    Recently, Derek Parfit has offered a novel solution to the “Repugnant Conclusion” that compared with the existence of many people whose quality of life would be very high, there is some much larger number of people whose existence would be better but whose lives would be barely worth living. On this solution, qualitative differences between two populations will often entail that the populations are merely “imprecisely” comparable. According to Parfit, this fact allows us to avoid the Repugnant Conclusion without violating (...)
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  • Indeterminacy, Angst and Conflicting Values.Jrg Williams - 2016 - Ratio 29 (4):412-433.
    How should we make choices where the values we subscribe to give conflicting recommendations? I will be defending a reduction of decision making under conflict to decision making under indeterminacy, in the spirit of Broome. To defend this, I set out and endorse the basic features of decision making under conflict that Ruth Chang identifies. I show that we find exactly those features in cases of decision making under indeterminacy not involving conflicting values. Further, my theory of decision making under (...)
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  • Modals vs. Morals. Blackburn on Conceptual Supervenience. Dohrn - 2012 - GAP 8 Proceedings.
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  • An Epistemic Value Theory.Dennis Whitcomb - 2007 - Dissertation, Rutgers
    For any normative domain, we can theorize about what is good in that domain. Such theories include utilitarianism, a view about what is good morally. But there are many domains other than the moral; these include the prudential, the aesthetic, and the intellectual or epistemic. In this last domain, it is good to be knowledgeable and bad to ignore evidence, quite apart from the morality, prudence, and aesthetics of these things. This dissertation builds a theory that stands to the epistemic (...)
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  • Assessing Lives, Giving Supernaturalism Its Due, and Capturing Naturalism: Reply to 13 Critics of Meaning in Life (Repr.).Thaddeus Metz - 2015 - In Masahiro Morioka (ed.), Reconsidering Meaning in Life: A Philosophical Dialogue with Thaddeus Metz. Waseda University. pp. 228-278.
    A lengthy reply to 13 critical discussions of _Meaning in Life: An Analytic Study_ collected in an e-book and reprinted from the _Journal of Philosophy of Life_. The contributors are from a variety of philosophical traditions, including the Anglo-American, Continental and East Asian (especially Buddhist and Japanese) ones.
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  • 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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  • On Epistemic Agency.Kristoffer Ahlstrom - 2010 - Dissertation, University of Massachusetts at Amherst
    Every time we act in an effort to attain our epistemic goals, we express our epistemic agency. The present study argues that a proper understanding of the actions and goals relevant to expressions of such agency can be used to make ameliorative recommendations about how the ways in which we actually express our agency can be brought in line with how we should express our agency. More specifically, it is argued that the actions relevant to such expressions should be identified (...)
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  • Consistency, Understanding and Truth in Educational Research.Andrew Davis - 2006 - Philosophy of Education 40 (4):487-500.
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  • Consistency, Understanding and Truth in Educational Research.Andrew Davis - 2006 - Journal of Philosophy of Education 40 (4):487–500.
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  • Broome and the Intuition of Neutrality.Wlodek Rabinowicz - 2009 - Philosophical Issues 19 (1):389-411.
    In “Weighing Lives” (2004) John Broome criticizes a view common to many population axiologists. On that view, population increases with extra people leading decent lives are axiologically neutral: they make the world neither better nor worse, ceteris paribus. Broome argues that this intuition, however, attractive, cannot be sustained, for several independent reasons. I respond to his criticisms and suggest that the neutrality intuition, if correctly interpreted, can after all be defended.On the version I defend,the world with added extra people at (...)
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  • From Values to Probabilities.Wlodek Rabinowicz - 2017 - Synthese 194 (10):3901-3929.
    According to the fitting-attitude analysis of value, to be valuable is to be a fitting object of a pro-attitude. In earlier publications, setting off from this format of analysis, I proposed a modelling of value relations which makes room for incommensurability in value. In this paper, I first recapitulate the value modelling and then move on to suggest adopting a structurally similar analysis of probability. Indeed, many probability theorists from Poisson onwards did adopt an analysis of this kind. This move (...)
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  • Value Taxonomy.Wlodek Rabinowicz & Toni Rønnow-Rasmussen - 2015 - In Tobias Brosch & David Sander (eds.), Handbook of Value. Oxford: Oxfocd University Press. pp. 23-42.
    The paper presents main conceptual distinctions underlying much of modern philosophical thinking about value. The introductory Section 1 is followed in Section 2 by an outline of the contrast between non-relational value and relational value. In Section 3, the focus is on the distinction between final and non-final value as well as on different kinds of final value. In Section 4, we consider value relations, such as being better/worse/equally good/on a par. Recent discussions suggest that we might need to considerably (...)
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  • Parity, Incomparability and Rationally Justified Choice.Martijn Boot - 2009 - Philosophical Studies 146 (1):75 - 92.
    This article discusses the possibility of a rationally justified choice between two options neither of which is better than the other while they are not equally good either (‘3NT’). Joseph Raz regards such options as incomparable and argues that reason cannot guide the choice between them. Ruth Chang, by contrast, tries to show that many cases of putative incomparability are instead cases of parity—a fourth value relation of comparability, in addition to the three standard value relations ‘better than’, ‘worse than’ (...)
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  • Good, Period.Richard J. Arneson - 2010 - Analysis 70 (4):731-744.
    (No abstract is available for this citation).
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  • The Mere Addition Paradox, Parity and Critical Level Utilitarianism.Mozaffar Qizilbash - 2002 - School of Economic and Social Studies, University of East Anglia.
    This paper uses a formal analysis of the relation of ‘parity’ to make sense of a well-known solution to Parfit’s ‘mere addition paradox’. This solution is sometimes dismissed as a recourse to ‘incomparability’. In this analysis, however, the solution is consistent with comparability, as well as transitivity of ‘better than’. The analysis is related to Blackorby, Bossert and Donaldson’s ‘incomplete critical-level generalised utilitarianism’ (ICLGU). ICLGU is inspired by Parfit’s work and can be related to the analysis of parity, though the (...)
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  • Rational Choice and the Transitivity of Betterness.Toby Handfield - 2014 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 89 (3):584-604.
    If A is better than B and B is better than C, then A is better than C, right? Larry Temkin and Stuart Rachels say: No! Betterness is nontransitive, they claim. In this paper, I discuss the central type of argument advanced by Temkin and Rachels for this radical idea, and argue that, given this view very likely has sceptical implications for practical reason, we would do well to identify alternative responses. I propose one such response, which employs the idea (...)
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  • Population Ethics and Different‐Number‐Based Imprecision.Gustaf Arrhenius - 2016 - Theoria 82 (2):166-181.
    Recently, in his Rolf Schock Prize Lecture, Derek Parfit has suggested a novel way of avoiding the Repugnant Conclusion by introducing what he calls “imprecision” in value comparisons. He suggests that in a range of important cases, populations of different sizes are only imprecisely comparable. Parfit suggests that this feature of value comparisons opens up a way of avoiding the Repugnant Conclusion without implying other counterintuitive conclusions, and thus solves one of the major challenges in ethics. In this article, I (...)
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  • I—I Ncommensurability and V Agueness.Wlodek Rabinowicz - 2009 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 83 (1):71-94.
    This paper casts doubts on John Broome's view that vagueness in value comparisons crowds out incommensurability in value. It shows how vagueness can be imposed on a formal model of value relations that has room for different types of incommensurability. The model implements some basic insights of the 'fitting attitudes' analysis of value.
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  • II—R Eflections on the R Easonable and the R Ational in C Onflict R Esolution.Ruth Chang - 2009 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 83 (1):133-160.
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  • The Numbers Count.Peter A. Graham - 2017 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 6 (2):129-134.
    Numbers Skeptics deny that when faced with a choice between saving some innocent people from harm and saving a larger number of different, though equally innocent, people from suffering a similar harm you ought to save the larger number. In this article, I aim to put pressure on Numbers Skepticism.
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  • The Authority Account of Prudential Options.Keith Horton - 2015 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 53 (1):17-35.
    The Authority Account provides a new explanation why commonsense morality contains prudential options—options that permit agents to perform actions that promote their own wellbeing more than the action they have most reason to do, from the moral point of view. At the core of that explanation are two claims. The first is that moral requirements are traditionally widely taken to have an authoritative status; that is, to be rules that morality imposes by right. The second is that in order for (...)
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  • Parity, Preference and Puzzlement.Joshua Gert - 2015 - Theoria 81 (3):249-271.
    Ruth Chang has argued for the existence of a fourth positive value relation, distinct from betterness, worseness and equality, which she calls “parity.” In an earlier article I seemed to criticize Chang's suggestion by offering an interval model for the values of items that I claimed could accommodate all the phenomena characteristic of parity. Wlodek Rabinowicz, offering his own model of value relations, endorsed one central feature of my proposal: the need to distinguish permissible preferences from required ones. But he, (...)
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  • Breaking Ties: The Significance of Choice in Symmetrical Moral Dilemmas.Carla Bagnoli - 2006 - Dialectica 60 (2):157-170.
    In symmetrical moral dilemmas, the agent faces a choice between two incompatible actions, which are equally justified on the basis of the same value. These cases are generally discounted as spurious or irrelevant on the assumption that, when there is no failure of commensurability, choice between symmetrical requirements is indifferent and can be determined by randomization. Alternatively, this article argues that the appeal to randomization allows the agent to overcome a deliberative impasse, but it does not really resolve the moral (...)
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  • Breaking Ties: The Significance of Choice in Symmetrical Moral Dilemmas.Carla Bagnoli - 2006 - Dialectica 60 (2):157–170.
    In symmetrical moral dilemmas, the agent faces a choice between two incompatible actions, which are equally justified on the basis of the same value. These cases are generally discounted as spurious or irrelevant on the assumption that, when there is no failure of commensurability, choice between symmetrical requirements is indifferent and can be determined by randomization. Alternatively, this article argues that the appeal to randomization allows the agent to overcome a deliberative impasse, but it does not really resolve the moral (...)
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  • It’s for Your Own Good: Natural Law and the Good Life.Playford Richard Charles - 2017 - Dissertation, University of Reading
    The goal of this thesis is to create a distinctively Aristotelian-Thomistic ethical schema. I shall do this in four stages. First, in chapter one, I am going to present a summary of Aristotelian metaphysics. I will present a slightly Thomistic take on Aristotelian metaphysics specifically when it comes to the distinction between accidental and substantial form. However, I will present a more classically Aristotelian account when it comes to the source of teleology. Along the way I will explore whether science (...)
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  • Conflicting Reasons in the Small-Improvement Argument.Johan E. Gustafsson & Nicolas Espinoza - 2010 - Philosophical Quarterly 60 (241):754-763.
    The small-improvement argument is usually considered the most powerful argument against comparability, viz the view that for any two alternatives an agent is rationally required either to prefer one of the alternatives to the other or to be indifferent between them. We argue that while there might be reasons to believe each of the premises in the small-improvement argument, there is a conflict between these reasons. As a result, the reasons do not provide support for believing the conjunction of the (...)
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  • Can Every Option Be Rationally Impermissible?Chrisoula Andreou - 2021 - Erkenntnis 86 (6):1309-1317.
    Moving from simple to increasingly sophisticated candidate cases, I argue against the idea that there can be cases in which, due to no fault of the agent or to any ambiguity regarding how things will go depending on which option is selected, all the options available to an agent are rationally impermissible. Whether there are cases that fit this bill—qualifying as what I will label no-fault-or-ambiguity rational dilemmas—depends on the characteristics of conclusive reasons. My reasoning leads me to the view (...)
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  • Money Pumps, Incompleteness, and Indeterminacy.Johan E. Gustafsson - 2016 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 92 (1):60-72.
    In an alleged counter-example to the completeness of rational preferences, a career as a clarinettist is compared with a career in law. It seems reasonable to neither want to judge that the law career is at least as preferred as the clarinet career nor want to judge that the clarinet career is at least as preferred as the law career. The two standard interpretations of examples of this kind are, first, that the examples show that preferences are rationally permitted to (...)
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  • Value Incomparability and Incommensurability.Ruth Chang - 2015 - In Iwao Hirose & Jonas Olson (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Value Theory. Oxford University Press.
    This introductory article describes the phenomena of incommensurability and incomparability, how they are related, and why they are important. Since incomparability is the more significant phenomenon, the paper takes that as its focus. It gives a detailed account of what incomparability is, investigates the relation between the incomparability of values and the incomparability of alternatives for choice, distinguishes incomparability from the related phenomena of parity, indeterminacy, and noncomparability, and, finally, defends a view about practical justification that vindicates the importance of (...)
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  • On the Survival of Humanity.Johann Frick - 2017 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 47 (2-3):344-367.
    What moral reasons, if any, do we have to ensure the long-term survival of humanity? This article contrastively explores two answers to this question: according to the first, we should ensure the survival of humanity because we have reason to maximize the number of happy lives that are ever lived, all else equal. According to the second, seeking to sustain humanity into the future is the appropriate response to the final value of humanity itself. Along the way, the article discusses (...)
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  • Value Relations.Wlodek Rabinowicz - 2008 - Theoria 74 (1):18-49.
    Abstract: The paper provides a general account of value relations. It takes its departure in a special type of value relation, parity, which according to Ruth Chang is a form of evaluative comparability that differs from the three standard forms of comparability: betterness, worseness and equal goodness. Recently, Joshua Gert has suggested that the notion of parity can be accounted for if value comparisons are interpreted as normative assessments of preference. While Gert's basic idea is attractive, the way he develops (...)
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  • Incommensurability as Vagueness: A Burden-Shifting Argument.Luke Elson - 2017 - Theoria 83 (4):341-363.
    Two options are ‘incommensurate’ when neither is better than the other, but they are not equally good. Typically, we will say that one option is better in some ways, and the other in others, but neither is better ‘all things considered’. It is tempting to think that incommensurability is vagueness—that it is indeterminate which is better—but this ‘vagueness view’ of incommensurability has not proven popular. I set out the vagueness view and its implications in more detail, and argue that it (...)
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  • Moral and Vocational Dilemmas Meet the Common Currency Hypothesis: a Contribution to Value Commensurability.Eleonora Viganò & Edoardo Lombardi Vallauri - 2020 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 11 (1):83-102.
    Moral dilemmas have long been debated in moral philosophy without reaching a definitive consensus. The majority of value pluralists attribute their origin to the incommensurability of moral values, i.e. the statement that, since moral values are many and different in nature, they may conflict and cannot be compared. Neuroscientific studies on the neural common currency show that the comparison between allegedly incompatible alternatives is a practical possibility, namely it is the basis of the way in which the agent evaluates choice (...)
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  • Problems and Solutions for a Hybrid Approach to Grounding Practical Normativity.Jeff Behrends - 2015 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 45 (2):159-178.
    Source Hybridism about practical reasons is the position that facts that constitute reasons sometimes derive their normative force from external metaphysical grounds, and sometimes from internal. Although historically less popular than either Source Internalism or Source Externalism, hybridism has lately begun to garner more attention. Here, I further the hybridist's cause by defending Source Hybridism from three objections. I argue that we are not warranted in rejecting hybridism for any of the following reasons: that hybridists cannot provide an account of (...)
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  • Belief and Rational Indeterminacy.Nick Leonard - 2021 - Synthese 199 (5-6):13523-13542.
    This paper is about an anti-expertise paradox that arises because of self-referential sentences like: = I do not believe that is true. The first aim is to motivate, develop, and defend a novel view of epistemic rationality according to which there can be genuine rational indeterminacy, i.e., it can be indeterminate which doxastic states an agent is rationally permitted or required to have. The second aim is to show how this view can provide a solution to this paradox while also (...)
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  • Transformative Choices.Ruth Chang - 2015 - Res Philosophica 92 (2):237-282.
    This paper proposes a way to understand transformative choices, choices that change ‘who you are.’ First, it distinguishes two broad models of transformative choice: 1) ‘event-based’ transformative choices in which some event—perhaps an experience—downstream from a choice transforms you, and 2) ‘choice-based’ transformative choices in which the choice itself—and not something downstream from the choice—transforms you. Transformative choices are of interest primarily because they purport to pose a challenge to standard approaches to rational choice. An examination of the event-based transformative (...)
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  • Perspectival Disagreement.Erich H. Rast - 2018 - Theoria 84 (2):120-139.
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  • The Population Ethics of Belief: In Search of an Epistemic Theory X.Richard Pettigrew - 2018 - Noûs 52 (2):336-372.
    Consider Phoebe and Daphne. Phoebe has credences in 1 million propositions. Daphne, on the other hand, has credences in all of these propositions, but she's also got credences in 999 million other propositions. Phoebe's credences are all very accurate. Each of Daphne's credences, in contrast, are not very accurate at all; each is a little more accurate than it is inaccurate, but not by much. Whose doxastic state is better, Phoebe's or Daphne's? It is clear that this question is analogous (...)
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  • Values Compared.Wlodek Rabinowicz - 2009 - Polish Journal of Philosophy 3 (1):73-96.
    Gert (2004) has suggested that several different types of value relations, including parity, can be clearly distinguished from each other if one interprets value comparisons as normative assessments of preference, while allowing for two levels of normativity - requirement and permission. While this basic idea is attractive, the particular modeling Gert makes use of is flawed. This paper presents an alternative modeling, developed in Rabinowicz (2008), and a general taxonomy of binary value relations. Another version of value analysis is then (...)
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  • The Good, the Bad, and the Transitivity of Better Than.Jacob M. Nebel - 2018 - Noûs 52 (4):874-899.
    The Rachels–Temkin spectrum arguments against the transitivity of better than involve good or bad experiences, lives, or outcomes that vary along multiple dimensions—e.g., duration and intensity of pleasure or pain. This paper presents variations on these arguments involving combinations of good and bad experiences, which have even more radical implications than the violation of transitivity. These variations force opponents of transitivity to conclude that something good is worse than something that isn’t good, on pain of rejecting the good altogether. That (...)
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  • How to Be an Ethical Expressivist.Alex Silk - 2015 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 91 (1):47-81.
    Expressivism promises an illuminating account of the nature of normative judgment. But worries about the details of expressivist semantics have led many to doubt whether expressivism's putative advantages can be secured. Drawing on insights from linguistic semantics and decision theory, I develop a novel framework for implementing an expressivist semantics that I call ordering expressivism. I argue that by systematically interpreting the orderings that figure in analyses of normative terms in terms of the basic practical attitude of conditional weak preference, (...)
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  • Maximization, Incomparability, and Managerial Choice.Nien-hê Hsieh - 2007 - Business Ethics Quarterly 17 (3):497-513.
    According to one prominent view of rationality, for the choice of alternative to be justified, it must be at least as good as other alternatives. Michael Jensen has recently invoked this view to argue that managers should act exclusively to maximize the long-run market value of economic enterprises. According to Jensen, alternative accounts of managerial responsibility, such as stakeholder theory, are to be rejected because they lack a single measure to compare alternatives as better or worse. Against Jensen’s account, this (...)
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  • Value-Preference Symmetry and Fitting-Attitude Accounts of Value Relations.Johan E. Gustafsson - 2013 - Philosophical Quarterly 63 (252):476-491.
    Joshua Gert and Wlodek Rabinowicz have developed frameworks for value relations that are rich enough to allow for non-standard value relations such as parity. Yet their frameworks do not allow for any non-standard preference relations. In this paper, I shall defend a symmetry between values and preferences, namely, that for every value relation, there is a corresponding preference relation, and vice versa. I claim that if the arguments that there are non-standard value relations are cogent, these arguments, mutatis mutandis, also (...)
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  • Parity, Imprecise Comparability, and the Repugnant Conclusion.Ruth Chang - 2016 - Theoria 82 (2):183-215.
    This article explores the main similarities and differences between Derek Parfit’s notion of imprecise comparability and a related notion I have proposed of parity. I argue that the main difference between imprecise comparability and parity can be understood by reference to ‘the standard view’. The standard view claims that 1) differences between cardinally ranked items can always be measured by a scale of units of the relevant value, and 2) all rankings proceed in terms of the trichotomy of ‘better than’, (...)
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