A “New” Principle of Aggregation

Larry S. Temkin

in Rethinking the Good

Published in print January 2012 | ISBN: 9780199759446
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199932214 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Ethics Series

A “New” Principle of Aggregation

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This chapter further explores problems about trade-offs by examining a “new” principle of aggregation: the Disperse Additional Burdens View—short for the more cumbersome Disperse Additional Burdens So as to Prevent Any Individual from Having to Bear a Substantial Additional Burden. This is called a “new” principle of aggregation because it is not typically distinguished, or discussed, as a distinct principle in the philosophical literature. Nevertheless, this principle reflects familiar modes of reasoning. In fact, it can be seen as a natural extension of Chapter 2's Second Standard View. This principle is plausible and one that plays an important role in the assessment of outcomes. However, worries arise when one considers iterated applications of the principle. The chapter aims to illuminate this principle and the worries it generates. It shows that we may have to either reject this principle or refuse to allow ourselves to be repeatedly guided by it. Some principles of aggregation are complete. For any two alternatives, they generate a comparative ranking of those alternatives. But a principle of aggregation may also be incomplete. It may rank some, but not all, alternatives in comparison with each other. The principle of aggregation the chapter explores is incomplete.

Keywords: Disperse Additional Burdens; aggregation principle; trade-offs

Chapter.  15736 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Philosophy

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