Forskarseminarium

Jeff McMahan: Moral Reasons to Cause Well-Off People to Exist

Time: 19 February, 10-12
Place: Holländargatan 13, Stockholm

Jeff McMahan is White's Professor of Moral Philosophy at Oxford University, a distinguished research fellow at the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics and a fellow of Corpus Christi College. 

Abstract

Most people believe that there is no moral reason to cause a personto exist just because that person would be well off, or have a life that wouldbe well worth living.  Yet when presentedwith cases in which there is a choice between causing a better-off individualto exist and causing (or allowing) a different, less well-off individual toexist, most people think that there is a strong moral reason to cause thebetter-off individual to exist rather than the less well-off individual. I findit puzzling, however, to suppose that there is a strong reason to cause abetter-off individual to exist when the alternative is that a differentwell-off, though less well-off,individual will exist, but no reasonto cause the better-off individual (or a different but equally well-offindividual) to exist when the alternative is that no new individual will comeinto existence. Some philosophers have argued the reason to cause thebetter-off individual to exist is entirely conditional – for example, on adecision to cause some new individual to exist. I will suggest some reasons forskepticism of these arguments. I will argue that the reason to cause abetter-off individual to exist rather than a less well-off individual cannot beas strong as we intuitively believe it to be unless it is grounded inconsiderations that also ground a reason to cause a well-off individual toexist rather than not cause any individual to exist.

Seminariet hålls hos oss på Holländargatan 13 i Stockholm. Ingen föranmälan krävs. Välkommen!

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