Population Axiology and the Possibility of a Fourth Category of Absolute Value

Economics and Philosophy 36 (1):81-110 (2020)
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Critical-Range Utilitarianism is a variant of Total Utilitarianism which can avoid both the Repugnant Conclusion and the Sadistic Conclusion in population ethics. Yet Standard Critical-Range Utilitarianism entails the Weak Sadistic Conclusion, that is, it entails that each population consisting of lives at a bad well-being level is not worse than some population consisting of lives at a good well-being level. In this paper, I defend a version of Critical-Range Utilitarianism which does not entail the Weak Sadistic Conclusion. This is made possible by a fourth category of absolute value in addition to goodness, badness, and neutrality.
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