Journal of Philosophy of Life

An international peer-reviewed open access journal dedicated to the philosophy of life, death, and nature, supported by the Research Institute for Contemporary Philosophy of Life, Osaka Prefecture University


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[Discussion Paper]

Negative Average Preference Utilitarianism

Roger Chao

Journal of Philosophy of Life Vol.2, No.1 (March 2012):55-66



For many philosophers working in the area of Population Ethics, it seems that either they have to confront the Repugnant Conclusion (where they are forced to the conclusion of creating massive amounts of lives barely worth living), or they have to confront the Non-Identity Problem (where no one is seemingly harmed as their existence is dependent on the “harmful” event that took place). To them it seems there is no escape, they either have to face one problem or the other. However, there is a way around this, allowing us to escape the Repugnant Conclusion, by using what I will call Negative Average Preference Utilitarianism (NAPU) – which though similar to anti-frustrationism, has some important differences in practice. Current “positive” forms of utilitarianism have struggled to deal with the Repugnant Conclusion, as their theory actually entails this conclusion; however, it
seems that a form of Negative Average Preference Utilitarianism (NAPU) easily escapes this dilemma (it never even arises within it).

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