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date: 04 July 2022

Abstract and Keywords

Value comparability, either in the form of the kind of quantitative comparability involved in (intrapersonal or interpersonal) aggregation, or in the form of the kind of qualitative comparability involved in comparing putatively different values, has been thought to threaten the theoretical soundness of consequentialist theories. In part 2, I argue that unrestricted axiological aggregation is supported by overwhelmingly plausible assumptions about ordinary value comparisons. In particular, I argue that large numbers of small harms, such as headaches, really can outweigh small numbers of large harms, such as deaths. In part 3, I consider the challenge that qualitatively different values may be incomparable, in the sense that instances of one value may be neither better, worse, nor equal in value with instances of a different value. I argue that all values, no matter how qualitatively distinct, are either thoroughgoingly comparable or not at all (and that the latter is too implausible to take seriously).

Keywords: aggregation, comparability, incommensurability, qualitative, quantitative, values

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