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A Defence of the Asymmetry in Population Ethics
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Department of Philosophy, Ethics and Social Philosophy.
2012 (English)In: Res Publica, ISSN 1356-4765, E-ISSN 1572-8692, Vol. 18, no 2, 145-157 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

A common intuition is that there is a moral difference between ‘making people happy’ and ‘making happy people.’ This intuition, often referred to as ‘the Asymmetry,’ has, however, been criticized on the grounds that it is incoherent. Why is there, for instance, not a corresponding difference between ‘making people unhappy’ and ‘making unhappy people’? I argue that the intuition faces several difficulties but that these can be met by introducing a certain kind of reason that is favouring but non-requiring. It is argued that there are structural similarities between the asymmetry and moral options and that the asymmetry can be defended as an instance of a moral option.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. Vol. 18, no 2, 145-157 p.
Keyword [en]
Asymmetry, Harm, Benefit, Procreation, Reasons, Options, Supererogation, Anti-natalism
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Research subject
Practical Philosophy
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-161009DOI: 10.1007/s11158-011-9164-0OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-161009DiVA: diva2:454034
Available from: 2011-11-04 Created: 2011-11-04 Last updated: 2012-05-23Bibliographically approved

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Algander, Per
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Ethics and Social Philosophy
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