A dilemma for lexical and Archimedean views in population axiology

Economics and Philosophy 38 (3):395-415 (2022)
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Lexical views in population axiology can avoid the Repugnant Conclusion without violating Transitivity or Separability. However, they imply a dilemma: either some good life is better than any number of slightly worse lives, or else the ‘at least as good as’ relation on populations is radically incomplete. In this paper, I argue that Archimedean views face an analogous dilemma. I thus conclude that the lexical dilemma gives us little reason to prefer Archimedean views. Even if we give up on lexicality, problems of the same kind remain.

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Elliott Thornley
Oxford University


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