Elliott Thornley publishes two papers on population axiology

Elliott Thornley (Oxford University) has published two articles on population axiology. The first – titled ‘The Impossibility of a Satisfactory Population Prospect Axiology (Independently of Finite Fine-Grainedness)’ – is open-access in Philosophical Studies. It argues that all possible rankings of population prospects have at least one counterintuitive implication, and that this predicament cannot be avoided by denying Finite Fine-Grainedness: an assumption about the size of the differences between possible welfare levels.

The second paper – titled ‘A Dilemma for Lexical and Archimedean Views in Population Axiology’ – is published in Economics and Philosophy. It argues that the ‘Lexical Dilemma’ gives us little reason to prefer Archimedean Views, because Archimedean Views face an analogous dilemma. The first horn of this Archimedean Dilemma states that the line separating good and bad lives is razor-sharp: just two extra mosquito bites can flip even a long, turbulent life from good to bad. The second horn of this dilemma is a kind of radical incommensurability: for any arbitrarily good population and any arbitrarily bad population, there is some population that is both not worse than the former and not better than the latter.