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In Defence of Repugnance

Michael Huemer
Mind
New Series, Vol. 117, No. 468 (Oct., 2008), pp. 899-933
Published by: Oxford University Press on behalf of the Mind Association
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20532700
Page Count: 35
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In Defence of Repugnance
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Abstract

I defend the 'Repugnant' Conclusion that for any possible population of happy people, a population containing a sufficient number of people with lives barely worth living would be better. Four lines of argument converge on this conclusion, and the conclusion has a simple, natural theoretical explanation. The opposition to the Repugnant Conclusion rests on a bare appeal to intuition. This intuition is open to charges of being influenced by multiple distorting factors. Several theories of population ethics have been devised to avoid the Repugnant Conclusion, but each generates even more counterintuitive consequences. The intuition opposing the Repugnant Conclusion is thus among the best candidates for an intuition that should be revised.

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