Average Utilitarianism Implies Solipsistic Egoism

Australasian Journal of Philosophy 101 (1):140-151 (2023)
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ABSTRACT Average utilitarianism and several related axiologies, when paired with the standard expectational theory of decision-making under risk and with reasonable empirical credences, can find their practical prescriptions overwhelmingly determined by the minuscule probability that the agent assigns to solipsism—that is, to the hypothesis that there is only one welfare subject in the world, namely, herself. This either (i) constitutes a reductio of these axiologies, (ii) suggests that they require bespoke decision theories, or (iii) furnishes an unexpected argument for ethical egoism.

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Christian Tarsney
University of Texas at Austin


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