Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa
  • Get access
    Check if you have access via personal or institutional login
  • Cited by 5
  • Cited by
    This article has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Handfield, Toby 2016. Essentially Comparative Value Does Not Threaten Transitivity. Thought: A Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 5, Issue. 1, p. 3.

    Handfield, Toby 2014. Rational Choice and the Transitivity of Betterness. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, Vol. 89, Issue. 3, p. 584.

    Voorhoeve, Alex 2013. VAULTING INTUITION: TEMKIN'S CRITIQUE OF TRANSITIVITY. Economics and Philosophy, Vol. 29, Issue. 03, p. 409.

    KURTULMUS, A. FAIK 2012. Uncertainty behind the Veil of Ignorance. Utilitas, Vol. 24, Issue. 01, p. 41.

    Rabinowicz, Wlodek 2012. VALUE RELATIONS REVISITED. Economics and Philosophy, Vol. 28, Issue. 02, p. 133.



  • DOI:
  • Published online: 01 April 2005

Axiomatic utility theory plays a foundational role in some accounts of normative principles. In this context, it is sometimes argued that transitivity of “better than” is a logical truth. Larry Temkin and Stuart Rachels use various examples to argue that “better than” is non–transitive, and that transitivity is not a logical truth. These examples typically involve some sort of “discontinuity.” In his discussion of one of these examples, John Broome suggests that we should reject the claim which involves “discontinuity.” We can, I suggest, make sense of the examples which Temkin uses while sacrificing neither transitivity nor “discontinuity.” This response to Temkin's examples involves developing and modifying James Griffin's account of “discontinuity.” If the account of “discontinuity” seems implausible, that is because of a failure to allow for vagueness. A similar argument can be made in the context of the well-known “repugnant conclusion.”

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Economics & Philosophy
  • ISSN: 0266-2671
  • EISSN: 1474-0028
  • URL: /core/journals/economics-and-philosophy
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *