"To be or not to be, what is the value?" by Krister Bykvist


Online lecture by Krister Bykvist (Institute for Futures Studies, Stockholm & Dept. of Philosophy, Stockholm University): “To be or not to be, what is the value?”

Mon, 13 June 2022, 15:00–17:00 CET

Abstract: According to the person-affecting restriction, what is better (worse) must be better (worse) for someone. However, there seems to be a clear tension between this restriction and some of our considered judgements about so-called non-identity cases. For example, we want to say that creating a very unhappy person makes the world worse, other things being equal. In order to comply with the person-affecting restriction in this case, we need to show that coming into existence can be worse for a person, but it does not seem plausible to say that it can be worse for a person to exist than not to exist. Various attempts to ease this tension give up on the idea that existence cannot be worse for someone than non-existence. Some claim that non-existence can be worse for someone, but only when they exist; some claim that non-existing persons can have wellbeing, and some claim that there are no non-identity cases, for all individuals exist necessarily and have some wellbeing level or other. I shall argue that all of these attempts come with significant metaphysical and conceptual costs and that sticking to a person-affecting restriction is not worth these costs.

For Zoom info, please email [email protected] or [email protected]. The online lecture is organised by the German Society for Utilitarian Studies (https://www.utilitarismusstudien.de).
June 13, 2022

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Linkoping University

Sponsoring institution

German Society for Utilitarian Studies