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Population axiology

Philosophy Compass 12 (11):e12442 (2017)

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  1. In Defence of Fanaticism.Hayden Wilkinson - forthcoming - Ethics.
    Consider a decision between: 1) a certainty of a moderately good outcome, such as one additional life saved; 2) a lottery which probably gives a worse outcome, but has a tiny probability of some vastly better outcome (perhaps trillions of blissful lives created). Which is morally better? By expected value theory (with a plausible axiology), no matter how tiny that probability of the better outcome, (2) will be better than (1) as long that better outcome is good enough. But this (...)
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  • Discourse analysis of academic debate of ethics for AGI.Ross Graham - forthcoming - AI and Society:1-14.
    Artificial general intelligence is a greatly anticipated technology with non-trivial existential risks, defined as machine intelligence with competence as great/greater than humans. To date, social scientists have dedicated little effort to the ethics of AGI or AGI researchers. This paper employs inductive discourse analysis of the academic literature of two intellectual groups writing on the ethics of AGI—applied and/or ‘basic’ scientific disciplines henceforth referred to as technicians, and philosophy-adjacent disciplines henceforth referred to as PADs. These groups agree that AGI ethics (...)
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  • Why the Repugnant Conclusion is Inescapable.Mark Budolfson & Dean Spears - unknown
    The spectre of the repugnant conclusion and the search for a population axiology that avoids it has endured as a focus of population ethics. This is in part because the repugnant conclusion is often interpreted as a defining problem for totalism, while the implications of averagism and related views are taken to illustrate the theoretical cost of avoiding the repugnant conclusion. However, we show that this interpretation cannot be sustained unless one focuses only on a special case of the repugnant (...)
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  • Can Parfit’s Appeal to Incommensurabilities Block the Continuum Argument for the Repugnant Conclusion?Wlodek Rabinowicz - 2019 - In Paul Bowman & Katharina Berndt Rasmussen (eds.), Studies on Climate Ethics and Future Generations, Vol. 1. Institute for Futures Studies.
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  • Getting Personal: The Intuition of Neutrality Reinterpreted.Wlodek Rabinowicz - 2020 - In Paul Bowman & Katharina Berndt Rasmussen (eds.), Studies on Climate Ethics and Future Generations, Vol. 2. Institute for Futures Studies.
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  • The Psychology of (In)Effective Altruism.Lucius Caviola, Stefan Schubert & Joshua D. Greene - forthcoming - Trends in Cognitive Sciences.
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  • A New Argument Against Critical-Level Utilitarianism.Patrick Williamson - forthcoming - Utilitas:1-18.
    One prominent welfarist axiology, critical-level utilitarianism, says that individual lives must surpass a specified ‘critical level’ in order to make a positive contribution to the comparative status of a given population. In this article I develop a new dilemma for critical-level utilitarians. When comparatively evaluating populations composed of different species, critical-level utilitarians must decide whether the critical level is a universal threshold or whether the critical level is a species-relative threshold. I argue that both thresholds lead to a range of (...)
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  • Discounting for Public Policy: A Survey.Hilary Greaves - 2017 - Economics and Philosophy 33 (3):391-439.
    This article is a critical survey of the debate over the value of the social discount rate, with a particular focus on climate change. The ma- jority of the material surveyed is from the economics rather than from the philosophy literature, but the emphasis of the survey itself is on founda- tions in ethical and other normative theory rather than highly technical details. I begin by locating the standard approach to discounting within the overall landscape of ethical theory, and explaining (...)
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  • Doing Good Badly? Philosophical Issues Related to Effective Altruism.Michael Plant - 2019 - Dissertation, Oxford University
    Suppose you want to do as much good as possible. What should you do? According to members of the effective altruism movement—which has produced much of the thinking on this issue and counts several moral philosophers as its key protagonists—we should prioritise among the world’s problems by assessing their scale, solvability, and neglectedness. Once we’ve done this, the three top priorities, not necessarily in this order, are (1) aiding the world’s poorest people by providing life-saving medical treatments or alleviating poverty (...)
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  • Does Climate Change Policy Depend Importantly on Population Ethics? Deflationary Responses to the Challenges of Population Ethics for Public Policy.Mark Budolfson, Gustaf Arrhenius & Dean Spears - forthcoming - Climate Change and Philosophy,.
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  • Does the Repugnant Conclusion Have Important Implications for Axiology or for Public Policy?Mark Budolfson & Dean Spears - forthcoming - In Oxford Handbook of Population Ethics.
    Formal arguments have proven that avoiding the Repugnant Conclusion is impossible without rejecting one or more highly plausible population principles. To many, such proofs establish not only a deep challenge for axiology, but also pose an important practical problem of how policymaking can confidently proceed without resolving any of the central questions of population ethics. Here we offer deflationary responses: first to the practical challenge, and then to the more fundamental challenge for axiology. Regarding the practical challenge, we provide an (...)
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  • Moral Demands and the Far Future.Andreas L. Mogensen - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, EarlyView.
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  • Resources and the Acceptability of the Repugnant Conclusion.Stephen J. Schmidt - forthcoming - Theoria. An International Journal for Theory, History and Foundations of Science.
    Parfit’s Repugnant Conclusion argues, against intuition, that for any world A, another world Z with higher population and minimal well-being is better. That intuition is incorrect because the argument has not considered resources that support well-being. Z must have many more resources supporting well-being than A does. Z is repugnant because it spreads those resources among too many people; another world with Z’s resources and fewer people, if available, would be far superior. But Z is still better than A; it (...)
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  • Superintelligence as a Cause or Cure for Risks of Astronomical Suffering.Kaj Sotala & Lukas Gloor - 2017 - Informatica: An International Journal of Computing and Informatics 41 (4):389-400.
    Discussions about the possible consequences of creating superintelligence have included the possibility of existential risk, often understood mainly as the risk of human extinction. We argue that suffering risks (s-risks) , where an adverse outcome would bring about severe suffering on an astronomical scale, are risks of a comparable severity and probability as risks of extinction. Preventing them is the common interest of many different value systems. Furthermore, we argue that in the same way as superintelligent AI both contributes to (...)
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  • Against “the Badness of Death”.Hilary Greaves - forthcoming - In Gamlund and Solberg (ed.), Saving People from the Harm of Death. Oxford, USA: Oxford University Press.
    I argue that excessive reliance on the notion of “the badness of death” tends to lead theorists astray when thinking about healthcare prioritisation. I survey two examples: the confusion surrounding the “time-relative interests account” of the badness of death, and a confusion in the recent literature on cost-benefit analyses for family planning interventions. In both cases, the confusions in question would have been avoided if (instead of attempting to theorise in terms of the badness of death) theorists had forced themselves (...)
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