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Oxford Studies in Normative Ethics Volume 10$
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Mark Timmons

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780198867944

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198867944.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 07 December 2021

Incomparable Numbers

Incomparable Numbers

Chapter:
(p.106) 5 Incomparable Numbers
Source:
Oxford Studies in Normative Ethics Volume 10
Author(s):

Kenneth Walden

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198867944.003.0006

This chapter presents arguments for two slightly different versions of the thesis that the value of persons is incomparable. Both arguments allege an incompatibility between the demands of a certain kind of practical reasoning and the presuppositions of value comparisons. The significance of these claims is assessed in the context of the “Numbers problem”—the question of whether one morally ought to benefit one group of potential aid recipients rather than another simply because they are greater in number. It is argued that many of the popular approaches to this problem—even ones that avoid the aggregation of personal value—are imperiled by the incomparability theses.

Keywords:   incomparability, value, aggregation, numbers problem, joint action, Kant

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