A reply to Sterba
Parfit (Derek)
Source: Philosophy & Public Affairs, vol. 16, no. 2 (Spring, 1987), pp. 193-194
Paper - Abstract

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Author’s Introduction

  1. I did not, as James Sterba writes, claim to have explained "the asymmetry view." I claimed that, since my suggested explanation makes it impossible to solve the Paradox of Future Individuals, "we must abandon" one of its essential premises (my p. 152).
  2. Sterba's main claim is that my suggested explanation "does not so much explain or justify the [asymmetry] view as simply restate it." Is this so? My explanation assumed (W) that an act cannot be wrong if it will not be bad for any of the people who ever live. Sterba asks why we should not appeal instead to one of my Wide Principles, which are concerned with possible effects on people who might have lived. And he suggests that, since "the only ground" for preferring (W) is that it explains the asymmetry view, (W) cannot explain this view.
  3. […]


For the full text, see Parfit - A reply to Sterba.

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