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Critical-Level Population Principles And The Repugnant Conclusion

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  • Charles BLACKORBY
  • Walter BOSSERT
  • David DONALDSON
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    Abstract

    Critical-level generalized-utilitarian population principles with positive critical levels provide an ethically attractive way of avoiding the repugnant conclusion. We discuss the axiomatic foundations of critical-level generalized utilitarianism and investigate its relationship to the sadistic and strong sadistic conclusions. A positive critical level avoids the repugnant conclusion. We demonstrate that, although no critical-level generalized-utilitarian principle can avoid both the repugnant and strong sadistic conclusions, principles that avoid both have significant defects.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Centre interuniversitaire de recherche en économie quantitative, CIREQ in its series Cahiers de recherche with number 15-2002.

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    Length: 14 pages
    Date of creation: 2002
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:mtl:montec:15-2002

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    Related research

    Keywords: population ethics; critical-level generalized utilitarianism; repugnant conclusion;

    References

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    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
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    1. Walter Bossert & David Donaldson & Charles Blackorby, 1998. "Uncertainty and critical-level population principles," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 11(1), pages 1-20.
    2. Arrhenius, Gustaf, 2000. "An Impossibility Theorem for Welfarist Axiologies," Economics and Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 16(02), pages 247-266, October.
    3. Blackorby, Charles & Donaldson, David, 1984. "Social criteria for evaluating population change," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(1-2), pages 13-33, November.
    4. Blackorby, Charles & Bossert, Walter & Donaldson, David, 1995. "Intertemporal Population Ethics: Critical-Level Utilitarian Principles," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 63(6), pages 1303-20, November.
    5. Blackorby, Charles & Bossert, Walter & Donaldson, David, 1997. "Critical-Level Utilitarianism and the Population-Ethics Dilemma," Economics and Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 13(02), pages 197-230, October.
    6. Ng, Yew-Kwang, 1989. "What Should We Do About Future Generations?," Economics and Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 5(02), pages 235-253, October.
    7. Carlson, Erik, 1998. "Mere Addition and Two Trilemmas of Population Ethics," Economics and Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 14(02), pages 283-306, October.
    8. Ng, Yew-Kwang, 1986. "Social criteria for evaluating population change: An alternative to the Blackorby-Donaldson criterion," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 375-381, April.
    9. Charles Blackorby & Walter Bossert & David Donaldson & Marc Fleurbaey, 1998. "Critical levels and the (reverse) repugnant conclusion," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 67(1), pages 1-15, February.
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    Cited by:
    1. Thomas Renstrom & Luca Spataro, 2014. "Population growth and human capital: a welfarist approach," Public Finance Research Papers 3, Istituto di Economia e Finanza, DIGEF, Sapienza University of Rome.

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