Philosophy Colloquium
Chris Meacham
University of Massachusetts Amherst
Too Much of a Good Thing: Decision-Making in Cases with Infinitely Many Utility Contributions

Theories that use expected utility maximization to evaluate acts -- like subjective utilitarianism or decision theory -- have difficulty handling cases with infinitely many utility contributions. In this paper I present and motivate a way of modifying such theories to deal with these cases, employing what I call “Direct Difference Taking”. This proposal has a number of desirable features: it’s natural and well-motivated, it satisfies natural dominance intuitions, and it yields plausible prescriptions in a wide range of cases. I then compare my account to the most plausible alternative, a proposal offered by Arntzenius (2014). I argue that while Arntzenius’s proposal has some attractive features, it runs into a number of problems which Direct Difference Taking avoids.

Friday, November 15, 2019
3:00pm

Skinner 1115