Infinite Aggregation and Risk

Australasian Journal of Philosophy 101 (2):340-359 (2023)
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Abstract

For aggregative theories of moral value, it is a challenge to rank worlds that each contain infinitely many valuable events. And, although there are several existing proposals for doing so, few provide a cardinal measure of each world's value. This raises the even greater challenge of ranking lotteries over such worlds—without a cardinal value for each world, we cannot apply expected value theory. How then can we compare such lotteries? To date, we have just one method for doing so (proposed separately by Arntzenius, Bostrom, and Meacham), which is to compare the prospects for value at each individual location, and to then represent and compare lotteries by their expected values at each of those locations. But, as I show here, this approach violates several key principles of decision theory and generates some implausible verdicts. I propose an alternative—one which delivers plausible rankings of lotteries, which is implied by a plausible collection of axioms, and which can be applied alongside almost any ranking of infinite worlds.

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Hayden Wilkinson
University of Oxford

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