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New and Improvable Lives

Horton, J; (2021) New and Improvable Lives. The Journal of Philosophy , 118 (9) pp. 486-503. 10.5840/jphil2021118934.

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Abstract

According to weak utilitarianism, at least when other things are equal, you should maximize the sum of well-being. This view has considerable explanatory power, but it also has two implications that seem to me implausible. First, it implies that, other things equal, it is wrong to harm yourself, or even to deny yourself benefits. Second, it implies that, other things equal, given the opportunity to create new happy people, it is wrong not to. These implications can be avoided by accepting a complaints-based alternative to weak utilitarianism. However, complaints-based views face two decisive problems, originally noticed by Jacob Ross. I here develop a view that avoids these problems while retaining the advantages of complaints-based views.

Type: Article
Title: New and Improvable Lives
DOI: 10.5840/jphil2021118934
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.5840/jphil2021118934
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Dept of Philosophy
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10124330
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