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The Morality of Freedom$
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Joseph Raz

Print publication date: 1988

Print ISBN-13: 9780198248071

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0198248075.001.0001

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Incommensurability

Incommensurability

Chapter:
(p.321) 13 Incommensurability
Source:
The Morality of Freedom
Author(s):

Joseph Raz (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/0198248075.003.0013

Two options are incommensurable if it is neither true that one of them is better than the other, nor true that they are of equal value. A test of incommensurability between two options, which yields a sufficient but not necessary condition of incommensurability, is that there is, or could be, another option that is better than one but is not better than the other. Two incommensurable options may be of roughly equal value, but do not have to be. The existence of significant incommensurability is attested to in our refusal to compare the value of options, and this refusal to compare the value of options helps, in turn, to determine the nature of those values. Incommensurability also helps to illuminate the nature of moral dilemmas.

Keywords:   constitutive incommensurability, incommensurability, incomparability, indeterminacy, mark of incommensurability, moral dilemmas, rough equality, symbolic significance

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