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CEPPA Talk (in person) – John Broome (Oxford)

April 4 @ 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm

Location: Edgecliffe G03

Title: The Continuum Argument Is Invalid

Abstract: Derek Parfit argues by means of something he calls a ‘continuum argument’ that a particular appealing premise in population axiology implies a conclusion that he and many others consider repugnant. He treats this as a paradox, and takes up the challenge of resolving it. He looks for a way to avoid the repugnant conclusion. The solution he offers depends on the existence of imprecision within the relation of betterness among populations. Other philosophers have taken up the same challenge, following Parfit’s lead, and offered similar solutions. I shall show that actually the repugnant conclusion is not implied by Parfit’s appealing principle. The continuum argument is invalid. There is therefore no paradox and no real challenge. Moreover, the explanation of why this is so has nothing to do with imprecision, incompleteness, incommensurateness, indeterminacy or vagueness in betterness. It is consistent with a sharp, complete betterness ordering.


April 4
4:00 pm - 5:30 pm
Event Category:


Luca Stroppa


Edgecliffe G03
The Scores
St Salvator's Quad, KY16 9AL
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