What's really wrong with the Limited Quantity View

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Abstract

In Part Four of Reasons and Persons, Derek Parfit seeks Theory X--the Utilitarian account of the morality of choices where the number of people who will ever exist depends upon our actions. Parfit argues that X has yet to be found. The two simplest versions of Theory X are Total Utilitarianism and Average Utilitarianism. Unfortunately, Parfit argues, each of these leads to unacceptable results. Parfit explores various alternatives and finds them all unsatisfactory. This paper deals with one of those alternatives: the Limited Quantity View. I argue that Parfit's argument against this view fails. However, I then present a new and more general objection which defeats a broad range of utilitarian views, including the Limited Quantity View.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)153-164
Number of pages12
JournalRatio
Volume14
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2001

Keywords

  • DIMINISHING MARGINAL VALUE
  • REPUGNANT CONCLUSION
  • THEORY-X

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