Defending the transitivity of "better than" in the face of axiological relativity

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Abstract
At first sight, if A is all-things-considered better than B and B is all-things-considered better than C, the judgment that A is all-things-considered better than C seems to follow. This should be a straight-forward consequence of the transitivity of the \all-things-considered better than" relation. However, if we deny that transitivity is a logical axiom of those relations involving comparatives, then it might turn out that betterness is not transitive. Following Temkin's terminology, a relation R will be de ned as nontransitive i either it is intransitive (i.e. aRb and bRc yet :(aRc)) or if transitivity cannot be applied, for there is no single relation R that holds between all the alternatives. More spefici cally, this could happen in a case where the obtaining of the better-than relation depends on different factors according to the nature of the relata. As a result, there are two main strategies available to question the axiom of transitivity: the rst is by providing an effective counterexample displaying cRa as well as (aRb ^ bRc), hence yielding a cycle. The second, more general way, is to show that all-things-considered betterness is a relation that conceptually involves comparison-dependent betterness relations, so that it is likely that transitivity fails to apply across different alternatives. The aim of this paper is to investigate part of the recent attack on the transitivity of better than, to conclude that there seems to be no cogent reason why this would not be a transitive relation.
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Archival date: 2020-08-12
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2020-08-12

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