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date: 04 July 2022

Abstract and Keywords

In this paper, I describe three structural issues population ethics raises for any form of consequentialism that embraces what we can call the basic maximizing idea, the idea that it makes things better, in a morally relevant sense, to make things better for people. What we say about those structural issues will in turn determine what we say about some of the most challenging problems of population ethics. I explore a handful of our options here, discarding some and leaving others on the table. My primary focus is on how those options propose to resolve the mere addition paradox, a population problem that is important in its own right and whose resolution is defining for what we will want to say about many other population problems.

Keywords: population ethics, mere addition paradox, maximization, mere addition principle, Pareto plus, average view, total view, person-affecting intuition

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