Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Praktische Philosophie/Ethik

Gastvortrag Wlodek Rabinowicz (Lund)

  • Wann 23.04.2018 von 10:15 bis 11:45
  • Wo Unter den Linden 6 , Raum 3071
  • iCal

Der Vortrag findet in englischer Sprache statt. Alle Interessierten sind herzlich eingeladen!

Getting Personal: The Intuition of Neutrality Re-interpreted

Abstract: According to the Intuition of Neutrality, in its axiological version, there is a range of wellbeing levels such that adding people to the world with lives at these levels doesn’t make the world either better or worse. On the standard conception of this ‘neutral range’, it extends from the zero level of wellbeing up to some positive level. Thus, on this conception, there is a disparity between what is good for a person and what is impersonally good: A life at awellbeing level within the neutral range might be  good for the person (if this level is positive), but it doesn’t make the world better. Consequently, while it is possible to develop a neutral-range utilitarianism that incorporates this conception, this version of utilitarianism is not fully welfaristic.
In “Broome and the Intuition of Neutrality”(2009), I suggested, but didn’t fully develop, a re-interpretation of the neutral range, which would remove this disparity between personal and impersonal value. On this new interpretation, a life at a level within the neutral range is not merely impersonally neutral, but also neutral in its personal value, i.e. neither good nor bad for the person who lives it – neither worth living nor worth not living. Such a life is neither better nor worse for the person than non-existence. Nevertheless,among neutral lives, some might be personally better than others. This is possible, provided we allow that lives can be incommensurable in personal value with non-existence.

   In my talk, I will explore some of the implications of this personalization of the neutrality intuition. In particular, while such a move might seem to make neutral-range utilitarianism more plausible, I will argue that the appearances are misleading. In Rabinowicz (2009) it was suggested that the personalized neutrality intuition re-instates the Repugnant Conclusion of utilitarianism but at the same time removes its repugnance (cf. also Gustafsson 2016). I now think this was a mistake: Even the truly repugnant conclusion can be re-instated. But while this objection affects neutral-range utilitarianism, it doesn’t touch the personalized neutrality intuition itself.