Parity, interval value, and choice

Ethics 115 (2):331-350 (2005)
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Abstract
This paper begins with a response to Josh Gert’s challenge that ‘on a par with’ is not a sui generis fourth value relation beyond ‘better than’, ‘worse than’, and ‘equally good’. It then explores two further questions: can parity be modeled by an interval representation of value? And what should one rationally do when faced with items on a par? I argue that an interval representation of value is incompatible with the possibility that items are on a par (a mathematical proof is given in the appendix). I also suggest that there are three senses of ‘rationally permissible’ which, once distinguished, show that parity does distinctive practical work that cannot be done by the usual trichotomy of relations or by incomparability. In this way, we have an additional argument for parity from the workings of practical reason.
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Archival date: 2011-02-20
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