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Rethinking the GoodMoral Ideals and the Nature of Practical Reasoning$
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Larry S. Temkin

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199759446

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199759446.001.0001

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Aggregation and Problems about Trade-offs

Aggregation and Problems about Trade-offs

Many-Person Spectrum Arguments

(p.23) 2 Aggregation and Problems about Trade-offs
Rethinking the Good

Larry S. Temkin

Oxford University Press

This chapter begins by presenting a general schema of aggregation. It then presents several Standard Views about trade-offs between quality and number, focusing on cases where the trade-offs involve different individuals. The aim is neither to attack nor to defend these views. Instead, it seeks to articulate them and then raise questions about their consistency and implications. It shows that the First and Second Standard Views are seemingly inconsistent with the transitivity of “better than.” At least, this is so given the plausible assumption that there is, or at least could be, a spectrum of benefits, ranging from very high quality benefits to very low quality benefits, such that the First Standard View would be relevant for comparing outcomes involving benefits that were “near” each other on the spectrum, and the Second Standard View would be relevant for comparing outcomes involving benefits that were “far apart” on the spectrum. Thus, we are faced with a dilemma. We must either show that there couldn't be a spectrum of benefits that stand together in the relation suggested, or we must give up the First Standard View, the Second Standard View, or the transitivity of “better than”.

Keywords:   aggregation, Standard Views, trade-offs, better than

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