•  375
    The strike of the demon: On fitting pro‐attitudes and value
    with Toni Rønnow-Rasmussen
    Ethics 114 (3): 391-423. 2004.
    The paper presents and discusses the so-called Wrong Kind of Reasons Problem (WKR problem) that arises for the fitting-attitudes analysis of value. This format of analysis is exemplified for example by Scanlon's buck-passing account, on which an object's value consists in the existence of reasons to favour the object- to respond to it in a positive way. The WKR problem can be put as follows: It appears that in some situations we might well have reasons to have pro-attitudes toward objects that a…Read more
  •  215
    Value relations
    Theoria 74 (1): 18-49. 2008.
    Abstract:  The paper provides a general account of value relations. It takes its departure in a special type of value relation, parity, which according to Ruth Chang is a form of evaluative comparability that differs from the three standard forms of comparability: betterness, worseness and equal goodness. Recently, Joshua Gert has suggested that the notion of parity can be accounted for if value comparisons are interpreted as normative assessments of preference. While Gert's basic idea is attrac…Read more
  •  203
    Prioritarianism for Prospects
    Utilitas 14 (1): 2-21. 2002.
    The Interpersonal Addition Theorem, due to John Broome, states that, given certain seemingly innocuous assumptions, the overall utility of an uncertain prospect can be represented as the sum of its individual utilities. Given ‘Bernoulli's hypothesis’ according to which individual utility coincides with individual welfare, this result appears to be incompatible with the Priority View. On that view, due to Derek Parfit, the benefits to the worse off should count for more, in the overall evaluation…Read more
  •  189
    A distinction in value: Intrinsic and for its own sake
    Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 100 (1). 1999.
    The paper argues that the final value of an object-i.e., its value for its own sake-need not be intrinsic. Extrinsic final value, which accrues to things (or persons) in virtue of their relational rather than internal features, cannot be traced back to the intrinsic value of states that involve these things together with their relations. On the contrary, such states, insofar as they are valuable at all, derive their value from the things involved. The endeavour to reduce thing-values to state-v…Read more
  •  179
    Free will is widely thought to require (i) the possibility of acting otherwise and (ii) the intentional endorsement of one’s actions (“indeterministic picking is not enough”). According to (i), a necessary condition for free will is agential-level indeterminism: at some points in time, an agent’s prior history admits more than one possible continuation. According to (ii), however, a free action must be intentionally endorsed, and indeterminism may threaten freedom: if several alternative actions…Read more
  •  157
    Analyticity and Possible-World Semantics
    Erkenntnis 72 (3): 295-314. 2010.
    Standard approaches to possible-world semantics allow us to define necessity and logical truth, but analyticity is considerably more difficult to account for. The source of this difficulty lies in the received model-theoretical conception of a language interpretation. In intuitive terms, analyticity amounts to truth in virtue of meaning alone, i.e. solely in virtue of the interpretation of linguistic expressions. In other words, an analytic sentence should remain true under all variations of ‘ex…Read more
  •  154
    Buck-passing and the right kind of reasons
    Philosophical Quarterly 56 (222). 2006.
    The ‘buck-passing’ account equates the value of an object with the existence of reasons to favour it. As we argued in an earlier paper, this analysis faces the ‘wrong kind of reasons’ problem: there may be reasons for pro-attitudes towards worthless objects, in particular if it is the pro-attitudes, rather than their objects, that are valuable. Jonas Olson has recently suggested how to resolve this difficulty: a reason to favour an object is of the right kind only if its formulation does not inv…Read more
  •  146
    Incommensurability and vagueness
    Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 83 (1): 71-94. 2009.
    This paper casts doubts on John Broome's view that vagueness in value comparisons crowds out incommensurability in value. It shows how vagueness can be imposed on a formal model of value relations that has room for different types of incommensurability. The model implements some basic insights of the 'fitting attitudes' analysis of value.
  •  146
    Millian superiorities
    Utilitas 17 (2): 127-146. 2005.
    Suppose one sets up a sequence of less and less valuable objects such that each object in the sequence is only marginally worse than its immediate predecessor. Could one in this way arrive at something that is dramatically inferior to the point of departure? It has been claimed that if there is a radical value difference between the objects at each end of the sequence, then at some point there must be a corresponding radical difference between the adjacent elements. The underlying picture seems …Read more
  •  142
    Value and unacceptable risk
    Economics and Philosophy 21 (2): 177-197. 2005.
    Consider a transitive value ordering of outcomes and lotteries on outcomes, which satisfies substitutivity of equivalents and obeys “continuity for easy cases,” i.e., allows compensating risks of small losses by chances of small improvements. Temkin (2001) has argued that such an ordering must also – rather counter-intuitively – allow chances of small improvements to compensate risks of huge losses. In this paper, we show that Temkin's argument is flawed but that a better proof is possible. Howe…Read more
  •  137
    The Puzzle of the Hats is a puzzle in social epistemology. It describes a situation in which a group of rational agents with common priors and common goals seems vulnerable to a Dutch book if they are exposed to different information and make decisions independently. Situations in which this happens involve violations of what might be called the Group-Reflection Principle. As it turns out, the Dutch book is flawed. It is based on the betting interpretation of the subjective probabilities, but ig…Read more
  •  120
    What if I were in his shoes? On Hare's argument for preference utilitarianism
    with Bertil Strömberg
    Theoria 62 (1-2): 95-123. 1996.
    This paper discusses the argument for preference utilitarianism proposed by Richard Hare in Moral Thinking(Hare, 1981). G. F. Schueler (1984) and Ingmar Persson (1989) identified a serious gap in Hare’s reasoning, which might be called the No-Conflict Problem. The paper first tries to fill the gap. Then, however, starting with an idea of Zeno Vendler, the question is raised whether the gap is there to begin with. Unfortunately, this Vendlerian move does not save Hare from criticism. Paradoxicall…Read more
  •  109
    The Puzzle of the Hats
    with Bovens Luc
    Synthese 172 (1): 57-78. 2010.
    The Puzzle of the Hats is a betting arrangement which seems to show that a Dutch book can be made against a group of rational players with common priors who act in the common interest and have full trust in the other players’ rationality. But we show that appearances are misleading—no such Dutch book can be made. There are four morals. First, what can be learned from the puzzle is that there is a class of situations in which credences and betting rates diverge. Second, there is an analogy betwee…Read more
  •  105
    An agent whose preferences violate the Independence Axiom or for some other reason are not representable by an expected utility function, can avoid 'dynamic inconsistency' either by foresight ('sophisticated choice') or by subsequent adjustment of preferences to the chosen plan of action ('resolute choice'). Contrary to McClennen and Machina, among others, it is argued these two seemingly conflicting approaches to 'dynamic rationality' need not be incompatible. 'Wise choice' reconciles foresight…Read more
  •  104
    Actual truth, possible knowledge
    Topoi 13 (2): 101-115. 1994.
    The well-known argument of Frederick Fitch, purporting to show that verificationism (= Truth implies knowability) entails the absurd conclusion that all the truths are known, has been disarmed by Dorothy Edgington''s suggestion that the proper formulation of verificationism presupposes that we make use of anactuality operator along with the standardly invoked epistemic and modal operators. According to her interpretation of verificationism, the actual truth of a proposition implies that it could…Read more
  •  102
  •  100
    A centipede for intransitive preferrers
    Studia Logica 67 (2): 167-178. 2001.
    In the standard money pump, an agent with cyclical preferences can avoid exploitation if he shows foresight and solves his sequential decision problem using backward induction (BI). This way out is foreclosed in a modified money pump, which has been presented in Rabinowicz (2000). There, BI will lead the agent to behave in a self-defeating way. The present paper describes another sequential decision problem of this kind, the Centipede for an Intransitive Preferrer, which in some respects is even…Read more
  •  96
    In memoriam: Jordan Howard Sobel (1929–2010)
    Theoria 76 (3): 192-196. 2010.
    It's an obituary of Jordan Howard Sobel, a prominent American-Canadian moral philosopher and a decision theorist who died in 2010. The obituary focuses on Sobels' close contacts with the Swedish philosophical community and on his contributions to Theoria.
  •  94
    Kotarbinski's Early Criticism of Utilitarianism
    Utilitas 12 (1): 79. 2000.
    Apart from a short introduction, this contribution consists of a translation of Tadeusz Kotarbinski’s “Utilitarianism and The Ethics of Pity”. In that very concise and relatively unknown early note, written before he embarked on his long and influential career as a nominalist logician and philosopher of science, Kotarbinski had formulated four astonishingly ‘modern’ objections to utilitarianism. Unlike Christian ‘ethics of pity’, utilitarian ethics disregards the normative importance of the dist…Read more
  •  90
    The theories of belief change developed within the AGM-tradition are not logics in the proper sense, but rather informal axiomatic theories of belief change. Instead of characterizing the models of belief and belief change in a formalized object language, the AGM-approach uses a natural language — ordinary mathematical English — to characterize the mathematical structures that are under study. Recently, however, various authors such as Johan van Benthem and Maarten de Rijke have suggested repr…Read more
  •  87
    Value relations revisited
    Economics and Philosophy 28 (2): 133-164. 2012.
    In Rabinowicz, I considered how value relations can best be analysed in terms of fitting pro-attitudes. In the formal model of that paper, fitting pro-attitudes are represented by the class of permissible preference orderings on a domain of items that are being compared. As it turns out, this approach opens up for a multiplicity of different types of value relationships, along with the standard relations of ‘better’, ‘worse’, ‘equally as good as’ and ‘incomparable in value’. Unfortunately, the a…Read more
  •  85
    Value Based on Preferences
    with Jan Österberg
    Economics and Philosophy 12 (1): 1. 1996.
    What distinguishes preference utilitarianism from other utilitarian positions is the axiological component: the view concerning what is intrinsically valuable. According to PU, intrinsic value is based on preferences. Intrinsically valuable states are connected to our preferences being satisfied
  •  81
    According to the so-called “Folk Theorem” for repeated games, stable cooperative relations can be sustained in a Prisoner’s Dilemma if the game is repeated an indefinite number of times. This result depends on the possibility of applying strategies that are based on reciprocity, i.e., strategies that reward cooperation with subsequent cooperation and punish defectionwith subsequent defection. If future interactions are sufficiently important, i.e., if the discount rate is relatively small, each…Read more
  •  73
    Suppose a committee has to take a stand on a complex issue, where the decision presupposes answering a number of sub-questions. There is an agreement within the committee which sub-questions should be posed. All questions are of the ”yes or no?”-type and the main question is to be given the yes-answer if and only if each sub-question is answered with “yes”. Two different voting procedures can be used. On one procedure, the committee members vote on each sub-question and the voting results th…Read more
  •  73
    Broome and the intuition of neutrality
    Philosophical Issues 19 (1): 389-411. 2009.
    In “Weighing Lives” (2004) John Broome criticizes a view common to many population axiologists. On that view, population increases with extra people leading decent lives are axiologically neutral: they make the world neither better nor worse, ceteris paribus. Broome argues that this intuition, however, attractive, cannot be sustained, for several independent reasons. I respond to his criticisms and suggest that the neutrality intuition, if correctly interpreted, can after all be defended.On the …Read more
  •  66
    Epistemic entrenchment with incomparabilities and relational belief revision
    In André Fuhrmann & Michael Morreau (eds.), The Logic of Theory Change, Springer. pp. 93--126. 1991.
    In earlier papers (Lindström & Rabinowicz, 1989. 1990), we proposed a generalization of the AGM approach to belief revision. Our proposal was to view belief revision as a relation rather thanas a function on theories (or belief sets). The idea was to allow for there being several equally reasonable revisions of a theory with a given proposition. In the present paper, we show that the relational approach is the natural result of generalizing in a certain way an approach to belief revision due to…Read more
  •  65
    A Distinction in Value: Intrinsic and for its own sake
    In Toni Rønnow-Rasmussen & Michael J. Zimmerman (eds.), Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, Springer. pp. 115--129. 2005.
    The paper argues that the final value of an object-i.e., its value for its own sake-need not be intrinsic. Extrinsic final value, which accrues to things in virtue of their relational rather than internal features, cannot be traced back to the intrinsic value of states that involve these things together with their relations. On the contrary, such states, insofar as they are valuable at all, derive their value from the things involved. The endeavour to reduce thing-values to state-values is large…Read more
  •  62
    This paper puts forward the following claims: (i) The size of inequality in welfare should be distinguished from its badness. (ii) The size of a pairwise inequality between two individuals can be measured by the absolute or the relative welfare distance between their welfare levels, but it does not depend on the welfare levels of other individuals. (iii) The size of inequality in a social state may be understood either as the degree of pairwise inequality or as its amount. (iv) The badness of a …Read more
  •  58
    The Value of Existence
    In Iwao Hirose & Jonas Olson (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Value Theory, Oxford University Press Usa. 2015.
    Can it be better or worse for a person to exist than not to exist at all? This old and challenging existential question has been raised anew in contemporary moral philosophy, mainly for two reasons. First, traditional “impersonal” ethical theories, such as utilitarianism, have counterintuitive implications in population ethics, for example, the repugnant conclusion. Second, it has seemed evident to many that an outcome can be better than another only if it is better for someone, and that only mo…Read more