Error Theories and Bare-Difference Methodology: A Reply to Kopeikin

Journal of Value Inquiry:1-10 (forthcoming)
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Abstract
Kopeikin (forthcoming a, forthcoming b) and Rachels’ (1975) bare-difference cases elicit the intuition that killing is no different than letting die. Hill’s (2018) bare-difference cases elicit the intuition that killing is worse than letting die. At least one of the intuitions must be mistaken. This calls for an error theory. Hill has an error theory for the intuition elicited by the Kopeikin/Rachels’ cases. Kopeikin and Rachels have an error theory for the intuition elicited by Hill’s cases. A natural thought is that we are at an impasse. There is no plausible basis for preferring one error theory to the other. I argue that this natural thought is mistaken. Not all error theories are equal. Preliminary considerations favor Hill’s error theory and disfavor the Kopeikin/Rachels error theory. But preliminary considerations are not decisive. The way forward in the bare-difference debate is not to evaluate intuitions. The intuitions are in. What is left to do now is evaluate the comparative status of the Hill and the Kopeikin/Rachels error theories.
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