Spectrum Arguments

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

Spectrum Arguments

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Chapters 2 through 5 presented various Spectrum Arguments which revealed an inconsistency between certain standard views regarding how to make trade-offs between different alternatives along a spectrum, certain factual premises, and the transitivity of the “better than” relation (in this book's wide reason-implying sense). Many people are suspicious of Spectrum Arguments, and many objections have been raised to such arguments. Some of these have already been addressed. But others have not. This chapter presents and responds to the most serious of the remaining objections, of which there are three main types. It considers a representative example of each type. Type one responds to this book's arguments by appealing to the significance of there being different kinds of alternatives along these spectrums. Type two claims that these arguments are versions of the Standard Sorites Paradox. Type three suggests that these arguments elicit well-known heuristics and similarity-based reasoning schemes that are leading our intuitions astray. It is argued that none of these objections is compelling.

Keywords: Spectrum Arguments; Sorites Paradox; trade-offs; transitivity; factual premises

Chapter.  27462 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Philosophy

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