Solving the non-identity problem with conditional obligations
Daniel Cohen (Charles Sturt University)

April 18, 2018, 12:00pm - 1:30pm
Philosophy, Australian Catholic University

Video Conference Room (460.4.28), Level 4, 250 Victoria Parade, Australian Catholic University
Australian Catholic University

This will be an accessible event, including organized related activities


University of Melbourne
University of Reading (PhD)


Many of us have the intuition that we are obligated, when all else is equal, to create the happier of two non-identical people, if forced to choose between these options. In this paper, I give an account of the difficulties involved in justifying this intuition. The ‘non-identity problem’ is the problem of finding such a justification. Ultimately, I argue that an adequate solution must appeal to conditional obligations. While making sense of conditional obligations itself presents theoretical difficulties, I offer a tentative account sufficient for the purposes of solving the non-identity problem.

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