Chapter

The Neutral Level for Existence

John Broome

in Weighing Lives

Published in print August 2004 | ISBN: 9780199243761
Published online October 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780191602900 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/019924376X.003.0010
 The Neutral Level for Existence

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This chapter demonstrates how the assumptions made so far in the book imply that there is a single neutral level for existence. That is, there is a single level of wellbeing such that adding a person at that level is neither better nor worse than not adding her. It explains how this conclusion conflicts strongly with an intuition shared by many people: the ‘neutrality intuition’ that adding a person to the world’s population is generally ethically neutral. It uses examples such as the mere addition paradox. It outlines various ways in which the conflict with intuition might be circumvented.

Keywords: mere addition paradox; neutral level; neutrality intuition; critical level

Chapter.  4825 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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