Superiority discounting implies the preposterous conclusion

Journal article

Barrington, Michael. (2022). Superiority discounting implies the preposterous conclusion. Utilitas. 34(4), pp. 493-501.
AuthorsBarrington, Michael

Many population axiologies avoid the Repugnant Conclusion (RC) by endorsing Superiority: some number of great lives is better than any number of mediocre lives. But as Nebel shows, RC follows (given plausible auxiliary assumptions) from the Intrapersonal Repugnant Conclusion (IRC): a guaranteed mediocre life is better than a sufficiently small probability of a great life. This result is concerning because IRC is plausible. Recently, Kosonen has argued that IRC can be true while RC is false if small probabilities are discounted to zero. This article details the unique problems created by combining Superiority with discounting. The resultant view, Superiority Discounting, avoids the Repugnant Conclusion only at the cost of the Preposterous Conclusion: near-certain hell for arbitrarily many people is better than near-certain heaven for arbitrarily many people.

Journal citation34 (4), pp. 493-501
PublisherCambridge University Press
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Scopus EID2-s2.0-85142288541
Page range493-501
Publisher's version
All rights reserved
File Access Level
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online15 Aug 2022
Publication process dates
Deposited18 May 2023
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