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Critical-Level Population Principles and the Repugnant Conclusion

  • BLACKORBY, Charles
  • BOSSERT, Walter
  • DONALDSON, David

Critical-level generalized-utilitarian population principles with positive critical levels pro-vide an ethically attractive way of avoiding the repugnant conclusion. We discuss the axiomatic foundations of critical-level generalized utilitarianism and investigate its rela-tionship 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, princi-ples that avoid both have significant defects.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/1866/486
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Paper provided by Universite de Montreal, Departement de sciences economiques in its series Cahiers de recherche with number 2002-15.

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Length: 14 pages
Date of creation: 2002
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mtl:montde:2002-15
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  1. Blackorby, Charles & Donaldson, David, 1984. "Social criteria for evaluating population change," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(1-2), pages 13-33, November.
  2. Blackorby, Charles & Bossert, Walter & Donaldson, David, 2001. "The Axiomatic Approach to Population Ethics," Discussion Paper 24, Center for Intergenerational Studies, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
  3. Blackorby, Charles & Bossert, Walter & Donaldson, David, 2000. "Population Principles with Number-Dependent Critical Levels," Working Papers 2000-06, Rice University, Department of Economics.
  4. Walter Bossert & David Donaldson & Charles Blackorby, 1998. "Uncertainty and critical-level population principles," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 11(1), pages 1-20.
  5. Blackorby, Charles & Bossert, Walter & Donaldson, David, 2002. "Utilitarianism and the theory of justice," Handbook of Social Choice and Welfare, in: K. J. Arrow & A. K. Sen & K. Suzumura (ed.), Handbook of Social Choice and Welfare, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 11, pages 543-596 Elsevier.
  6. 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.
  7. Arrhenius, Gustaf, 2000. "An Impossibility Theorem for Welfarist Axiologies," Economics and Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 16(02), pages 247-266, October.
  8. Blackorby, Charles & Bossert, Walter & Donaldson, David, 1995. "Intertemporal Population Ethics: Critical-Level Utilitarian Principles," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 63(6), pages 1303-20, November.
  9. Carlson, Erik, 1998. "Mere Addition and Two Trilemmas of Population Ethics," Economics and Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 14(02), pages 283-306, October.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. Ng, Yew-Kwang, 1989. "What Should We Do About Future Generations?," Economics and Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 5(02), pages 235-253, October.
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