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Against Equality and Priority

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  • Published online: 27 November 2012

I start from three premises, roughly as follows: (1) that if possible world x is better than world y for every individual who exists in either world, then x is better than y; (2) that if x has a higher average utility, a higher total utility, and no more inequality than y, then x is better than y; (3) that better than is transitive. From these premises, it follows that equality lacks intrinsic value, and that benefits given to the worse-off contribute no more to the world's value than equal-sized benefits given to the better-off.

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Robert Young, ‘Egalitarianism and Envy’, Philosophical Studies 52 (1987), pp. 261–76

Shelly Kagan, ‘The Additive Fallacy’, Ethics 99 (1988), pp. 531.

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Thomas Hurka, ‘Value and Population Size’, Ethics 93 (1983), pp. 496507

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Stuart Rachels, ‘Counterexamples to the Transitivity of Better Than’, Australasian Journal of Philosophy 76 (1998), pp. 7183

Larry Temkin, ‘A Continuum Argument for Intransitivity’, Philosophy and Public Affairs 25 (1996), pp. 175210

Bill Anglin, ‘The Repugnant Conclusion’, Canadian Journal of Philosophy 7 (1977), pp. 745–54

Robin Attfield, The Ethics of Environmental Concern, 2nd edn. (Athens, Ga., 1991), pp. 127–30

Jesper Ryberg, ‘Is the Repugnant Conclusion Repugnant?’, Philosophical Papers 25 (1996), pp. 161–77

Nick Fotion, ‘Repugnant Thoughts About the Repugnant Conclusion Argument’, Contingent Future Persons, ed. Nick Fotion and Jan C. Heller (Dordrecht, 1997), pp. 8597

Chrisoula Andreou (‘Environmental Damage and the Paradox of the Self-Torturer’, Philosophy and Public Affairs 34 (2006), pp. 95108

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  • ISSN: 0953-8208
  • EISSN: 1741-6183
  • URL: /core/journals/utilitas
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