Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Paper: Aggregation of Harms, Sorites Paradox

I wrote another paper today... not for a class or anything... this arose out of an argument with one of my professors, and I thought the most convincing way to make my point was to put it on paper. If you're interested in reading, download it here. Comments appreciated, of course.
“Heaps v. Headaches and Human Lives” Abstract: Alastair Norcross has argued for a principle of aggregation of harms. On his view, relatively minor harms to a number of individuals 'add up' and can in principle outweigh much greater individual harms. So, for instance, there is some finite number n of mild headaches such that n mild headaches would be worse than one person being tortured to death. I will present Norcross’s argument and defend it from the objection that it is merely an instance of the sorites paradox. In so doing, I offer a kind of response to a potentially broad range of attempts assimilate arguments to the sorites paradox.

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