Philosophy Colloquium

Fall 2019

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.

When: Friday, November 15, 2019 at 3:00pm
Where: Skinner 1115
Wesley H. Holliday (University of California, Berkeley) • TBA


When: Friday, December 6, 2019 at 3:00pm
Where: Skinner 1115