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COMPLEX TIME: Adaptation, Aging, & Arrow of Time

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Population and the Environment: Analytical Demography and Applied Population Ethics/Foundation of population ethics - population axiology & moral theory

From Complex Time

October 13, 2018
9:30 am - 9:45 am


Christopher Cowie (Durham Univ.)


How should we compare states of affairs that differ in not only the identities and qualities of life of those who comprise them, but also in their populations? This is the central challenge for moral philosophers working on population and future generations. I introduce the key ideas and arguments. I focus on the ‘repugnant conclusion’: the view that large populations of people with relatively low qualities of life may be better than small populations with relatively higher quality of life. I explore some of the arguments for and against this view and sketch the range of positions that those who wish to avoid it have adopted.    

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