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An Inquiry into Well-Being and Destitution$
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Partha Dasgupta

Print publication date: 1995

Print ISBN-13: 9780198288350

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0198288352.001.0001

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Classical Utilitarianism in a Limited World

Classical Utilitarianism in a Limited World

Chapter:
(p.395) *13 Classical Utilitarianism in a Limited World
Source:
An Inquiry into Well-Being and Destitution
Author(s):

Partha Dasgupta (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/0198288352.003.0020

The main part of this chapter discusses normative considerations on population and savings. It has five sections. The first discusses parental concerns on the well‐being of their children in relation to savings. The second discusses the Genesis Problem (which in its purest form asks how many lives there should be, enjoying what standards), and the Repugnant Conclusion (which, in Parfit's formulation states that ‘For any population of at least ten billion people, all with a very high quality of life, there must be some larger imaginable population whose existence,if other things are equal, would be better, even though its members have lives that are barely worth living). Section (3) questions whether the Repugnant Conclusion is repugnant when applied to comparisons of well‐being in the Genesis Problem, and section 4 argues that the Genesis Problem is irrelevant in real life, which addresses actual problems. Section (5) looks at population ethics. An extra and separate section (designated Chapter *13) gives theoretical presentations on classical utilitarianism in a limited world.

Keywords:   Genesis Problem, normative theory, population, population ethics, quality of life, Repugnant Conclusion, savings, utilitarianism, well‐being

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