Two asymmetries in population and general normative ethics


  • Mat Rozas University of Santiago De Compostela



This paper examines a dilemma in reproductive and population ethics that can illuminate broader questions in axiology and normative ethics. This dilemma emerges because most people have conflicting intuitions concerning whether the interests of non-existent beings can outweigh the interests of existing beings when those merely potential beings are expected to have overall net-good or overall net-bad lives. The paper claims that the standard approach to this issue, in terms of exemplifying the conflict between Narrow Person-Affecting Views and Impersonal Views, is not correct. It argues that, instead, we can approach the issue through the distinction between Symmetrical and Asymmetrical Views about the relative importance of positive and negative value. The paper also claims that Asymmetrical Views provide the most intuitively satisfactory solution to the dilemma and can in addition be defended independently on further grounds.

Keywords: person-affecting views, impersonal views, symmetry, asymmetry


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How to Cite

Rozas, M. (2021). Two asymmetries in population and general normative ethics. Etikk I Praksis - Nordic Journal of Applied Ethics, 15(1), 41-49.



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