Philosophy Colloquium
Kyley Ewing
University of Maryland
Lives or Headaches?

The lives for headaches argument concludes that, while the exact number may be open to debate, there is a finite amount of headache relief that is sufficient to outweigh an innocent life. This conclusion presents a well-known conflict within value theory. Arguably based on both sound and valid reasoning, it is highly counterintuitive to most. My aim is to assess lives for headaches by way of an analysis of its underlying argument. Focus will be given to Dorsey’s (2009) formulation, and subsequent rejection, of this argument. Contra Dorsey I suggest that there is motivation to accept the reasoning leading to lives for headaches. Reconciling the counterintuitive consequences of lives for headaches with the strength of its supporting argument therefore remains an open and important puzzle.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

KEY 0103