Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Repugnancy, Marginalism, Transitivity, and Population Ethics

This paper attempts to build upon the “marginalist” solutions to various puzzles in the area of population ethics, including the so-called Repugnant Conclusion (seen as a major obstacle to the viability of the Total Utility Principle), the Ecstatic Psychopath Scenario (seen as a major obstacle to the viability of the Average Utility Principle) and the Negative Repugnant Conclusion. After rejecting the suggestion that the above puzzles should be resolved by abandoning the axiom of transitivity, I argue that the solution lies in the principle of diminishing marginal utility, whose effects apply not only to every individual added to any given population, but, even more importantly, also to the already existing members of that population.

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