Incommensurability in Population Ethics

Dissertation, University of Oxford (2015)
  Copy   BIBTEX


Values are incommensurable when they cannot be measured on a single cardinal scale. Many philosophers suggest that incommensurability can help us solve the problems of population ethics. I agree. But some philosophers claim that populations bear incommensurable values merely because they contain different numbers of people, perhaps within some range. I argue that mere differences in how many people exist, even within some range, do not suffice for incommensurability. I argue that the intuitive neutrality of creating happy people is better captured by a version of average utilitarianism. But this view is problematic. So I suggest a version of total utilitarianism that avoids the repugnant conclusion by appealing to incommensurable dimensions of wellbeing.

Author's Profile

Jake Nebel
Princeton University


Added to PP

153 (#50,180)

6 months
85 (#14,103)

Historical graph of downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks on external links on PhilPapers.
How can I increase my downloads?