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  • Cited by 7
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    This article has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Briggs, Rachael and Nolan, Daniel 2015. Utility Monsters for the Fission Age. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly, Vol. 96, Issue. 3, p. 392.

    Temkin, Larry S. 2015. Rationality with respect to people, places, and times. Canadian Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 45, Issue. 5-6, p. 576.

    Pivato, Marcus 2014. Additive representation of separable preferences over infinite products. Theory and Decision, Vol. 77, Issue. 1, p. 31.

    Mabrouk, Mohamed Ben Ridha 2011. Translation invariance when utility streams are infinite and unbounded. International Journal of Economic Theory, Vol. 7, Issue. 4, p. 317.

    Asheim, Geir B. d’Aspremont, Claude and Banerjee, Kuntal 2010. Generalized time-invariant overtaking. Journal of Mathematical Economics, Vol. 46, Issue. 4, p. 519.

    Baum, Seth D. 2010. Is Humanity Doomed? Insights from Astrobiology. Sustainability, Vol. 2, Issue. 2, p. 591.

    Lauwers, Luc 2010. Ordering infinite utility streams comes at the cost of a non-Ramsey set. Journal of Mathematical Economics, Vol. 46, Issue. 1, p. 32.



  • DOI:
  • Published online: 01 October 2004

We address the question of how finitely additive moral value theories (such as utilitarianism) should rank worlds when there are an infinite number of locations of value (people, times, etc.). In the finite case, finitely additive theories satisfy both Weak Pareto and a strong anonymity condition. In the infinite case, however, these two conditions are incompatible, and thus a question arises as to which of these two conditions should be rejected. In a recent contribution, Hamkins and Montero (2000) have argued in favor of an anonymity-like isomorphism principle and against Weak Pareto. After casting doubt on their criticism of Weak Pareto, we show how it, in combination with certain other plausible principles, generates a plausible and fairly strong principle for the infinite case. We further show that where locations are the same in all worlds, but have no natural order, this principle turns out to be equivalent to a strengthening of a principle defended by Vallentyne and Kagan (1997), and also to a weakened version of the catching-up criterion developed by Atsumi (1965) and by von Weizsäcker (1965).

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For valuable comments, we would like to thank Marc Fleurbaey, Bart Capéau, Joel Hamkins, Barbara Montero, Tim Mulgan, and two anonymous referees for this journal.
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Economics & Philosophy
  • ISSN: 0266-2671
  • EISSN: 1474-0028
  • URL: /core/journals/economics-and-philosophy
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