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Transfinitely Transitive Value

Kowalczyk, K; (2022) Transfinitely Transitive Value. The Philosophical Quarterly , 72 (1) pp. 108-134. 10.1093/pq/pqab005. Green open access

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This paper develops transfinite extensions of transitivity and acyclicity in the context of population ethics. They are used to argue that it is better to add good lives, worse to add bad lives, and equally good to add neutral lives, where a life's value is understood as personal value. These conclusions rule out a number of theories of population ethics, feed into an argument for the repugnant conclusion, and allow us to reduce different-number comparisons to same-number ones. Challenges to these arguments are addressed, including the issue of comparing existence and non-existence in terms of personal value, the possibility of minimal quanta of time and life, and the meaningfulness of measuring closeness between outcomes with different population sizes. An asymmetry is uncovered between transfinite cycles of worseness and betterness, supporting a version of the weak procreative asymmetry. Transfinite transitivity principles are also favourably compared to the better-known principles of continuity.

Type: Article
Title: Transfinitely Transitive Value
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1093/pq/pqab005
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1093/pq/pqab005
Language: English
Additional information: © The Author(s) 2021. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Scots Philosophical Association and the University of St Andrews. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted reuse, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Keywords: value theory, transitivity, infinity, population ethics, money pumps, procreative asymmetry
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/10133580
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