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Millian Superiorities

Rabinowicz, Wlodek LU and Arrhenius, Gustaf (2005) In Utilitas 17. p.127-146
Abstract
Suppose one sets up a sequence of less-and-less valuable objects such that each object in the sequence is only marginally worse than its immediate predecessor. Could one in this way arrive at something that is dramatically inferior to the point of departure? It has been claimed that if there is a radical value difference between the objects at each end of the sequence, then at some point there must be a corresponding radical difference between the adjacent elements. The underlying picture seems to be that a radical gap cannot be scaled by a series of steps, if none of the steps itself is radical. We show that this picture is incorrect on a stronger interpretation of value superiority, but correct on a weaker one. Thus, the conclusion we... (More)
Suppose one sets up a sequence of less-and-less valuable objects such that each object in the sequence is only marginally worse than its immediate predecessor. Could one in this way arrive at something that is dramatically inferior to the point of departure? It has been claimed that if there is a radical value difference between the objects at each end of the sequence, then at some point there must be a corresponding radical difference between the adjacent elements. The underlying picture seems to be that a radical gap cannot be scaled by a series of steps, if none of the steps itself is radical. We show that this picture is incorrect on a stronger interpretation of value superiority, but correct on a weaker one. Thus, the conclusion we reach is that, in some sense at least, abrupt breaks in such decreasing sequences cannot be avoided, but that such unavoidable breaks are less drastic than it has been suggested. In an appendix written by John Broome and Wlodek Rabinowicz, the distinction between two kinds of value superiority is extended to from objects to their attributes. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
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Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
in
Utilitas
volume
17
pages
127 - 146
publisher
Cambridge University Press
ISSN
0953-8208
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
78761763-ffab-4a6f-9d9f-5f45848e1e87 (old id 776935)
date added to LUP
2008-01-28 08:56:14
date last changed
2016-08-16 15:04:40
@article{78761763-ffab-4a6f-9d9f-5f45848e1e87,
  abstract     = {Suppose one sets up a sequence of less-and-less valuable objects such that each object in the sequence is only marginally worse than its immediate predecessor. Could one in this way arrive at something that is dramatically inferior to the point of departure? It has been claimed that if there is a radical value difference between the objects at each end of the sequence, then at some point there must be a corresponding radical difference between the adjacent elements. The underlying picture seems to be that a radical gap cannot be scaled by a series of steps, if none of the steps itself is radical. We show that this picture is incorrect on a stronger interpretation of value superiority, but correct on a weaker one. Thus, the conclusion we reach is that, in some sense at least, abrupt breaks in such decreasing sequences cannot be avoided, but that such unavoidable breaks are less drastic than it has been suggested. In an appendix written by John Broome and Wlodek Rabinowicz, the distinction between two kinds of value superiority is extended to from objects to their attributes.},
  author       = {Rabinowicz, Wlodek and Arrhenius, Gustaf},
  issn         = {0953-8208},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {127--146},
  publisher    = {Cambridge University Press},
  series       = {Utilitas},
  title        = {Millian Superiorities},
  volume       = {17},
  year         = {2005},
}