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SUMMARY:Non-identity\, times infinity - Dr Christian Tarsney (GPI\, Univer
sity of Oxford)
DTSTART;VALUE=DATE-TIME:20181012T110000Z
DTEND;VALUE=DATE-TIME:20181012T120000Z
UID:https://talks.ox.ac.uk/talks/id/fef22890-922d-4ac5-9fd8-5f94053bbf2d/
DESCRIPTION:Any normative theory that attaches weight to the impartial val
ue of an action’s consequences needs an axiology\, a criterion for compa
ring worlds in terms of overall betterness. Though many different axiologi
es are available for comparing finite worlds\, it has proven very difficul
t to extend these axiologies in a satisfactory way to infinite worlds. Thi
s is an urgent problem for moral philosophy\, since it seems increasingly
likely that our world is in fact infinite. In this paper\, I show that the
problem is even more difficult than has so far been appreciated. Specific
ally\, while there is a natural way of extending finite axiologies that de
livers ideal results for agents who can only make a finite difference to a
n infinite world\, this extension fails for agents whose choices make an i
nfinite difference to the distribution of value in the world. If there are
infinitely many value-bearing entities in our causal future\, then we alm
ost certainly find ourselves in this position\, since our choices will be
“identity-affecting” with respect to infinitely many of those future b
eings. There is a very natural anonymity principle that seemingly must be
true if we are able to make any axiological comparisons at all between the
outcomes of infinitely identity-affecting choices. But in combination wit
h other very plausible assumptions\, this anonymity principle results in a
xiological cycles. From this cyclicity problem\, I draw out several simple
impossibility results indicating that\, if the population of the causal f
uture is infinite\, then we will have to pay a very high theoretical price
to hang onto the conclusion that our actions to matter from an impartial
perspective.\nSpeakers:\nDr Christian Tarsney (GPI\, University of Oxford)
LOCATION:Petrov Room (Suite 5)
URL:https://talks.ox.ac.uk/talks/id/fef22890-922d-4ac5-9fd8-5f94053bbf2d/
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DESCRIPTION:Talk:Non-identity\, times infinity - Dr Christian Tarsney (GPI
\, University of Oxford)
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