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Equality, Clumpiness and Incomparability

  • NIEN-HÊ HSIEH (a1)

The incomparability of two items is thought to pose a problem for making justified choices and for consequentialist theories that rely on comparing states of the world to judge the goodness of a particular course of action. In response, it has been argued that items thought incomparable by one of the three standard relations, ‘better than’, ‘worse than’ and ‘equally good’, are instead comparable by some fourth relation, such as ‘roughly equal’ or ‘on a par’. Against such accounts, this article argues that values in virtue of which comparisons are made can be ‘clumpy’ and that in comparisons involving clumpy values, we have no reason to accept ‘roughly equal’ or ‘on a par’ as distinct from ‘equally good’. The article supports the possibility of incomparability by arguing for an interpretation of incomparability as an instance of incommensurability.

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