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Ethics and Existence – The Legacy of Derek Parfit - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Ethics and Existence: The Legacy of Derek Parfit

Jeff McMahan, Tim Campbell, James Goodrich, and Ketan Ramakrishnan


Derek Parfit, who died in 2017, is widely believed to have been the best moral philosopher in well over a century. The twenty new essays in this book were written in his honour and have all been inspired by his work—in particular, his work in an area of moral philosophy known as ‘population ethics’, which is concerned with moral issues raised by causing people to exist. Until Parfit began writing about these issues in the 1970s, there was almost no discussion of them in the entire history of philosophy. But his monumental book Reasons and Persons (OUP, 1984) revealed that population ethics abo ... More

Keywords: Derek Parfit, population ethics, population axiology, Reasons and Persons, Non-Identity Problem, Repugnant Conclusion, future generations

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2022 Print ISBN-13: 9780192894250
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2022 DOI:10.1093/oso/9780192894250.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Jeff McMahan, editor
White's Professor of Moral Philosophy, University of Oxford

Tim Campbell, editor
Researcher at the Institute for Futures Studies, Stockholm

James Goodrich, editor
PhD student in philosophy, Rutgers University and University of Stockholm

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Jeff McMahan

Part I Causing People to Existand the Non-Identity Problem

1 The Asymmetry

Ralf M. Bader

3 Comparing Existence and Non-Existence

Hilary Greaves and John Cusbert

6 A Partial Solution to the Non-Identity Problem

Andrew McGee and Julian Savulescu

PART II The Repugnant Conclusion, Future Generations, And Extinction

13 On Theory X and What Matters Most

S. J. Beard and Patrick Kaczmarek

PART III Evaluative Imprecision, Incommensurability, and Vagueness in Value

Part IV Prioritarianism In Population Ethics

End Matter