Juggling to Preserve Transitivity

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

Juggling to Preserve Transitivity

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Numerous arguments have been presented illustrating that a number of beliefs that people hold about ideals and the nature of the good are incompatible. Among these beliefs are various Axioms of Transitivity, which hold that “equally as good as,” “at least as good as,” and “all-things-considered better than” are transitive relations. Given the central role that the Axioms of Transitivity play in practical reasoning, including the role that they play in Expected Value Theory, and that their analogues play in Expected Utility Theory, many suggestions have been made as to how we might preserve the Axioms of Transitivity even in the face of various arguments. This chapter considers the plausibility and implications of these suggestions. In doing this, it focuses on the view that “all-things-considered better than” is a transitive relation and, for simplicity, refer to that view as the Axiom of Transitivity.

Keywords: ideals; good; Axiom of Transitivity; all-things-considered better than; transitive relations

Chapter.  10930 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Philosophy

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