Date Thesis Awarded

4-2019

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelors of Arts (BA)

Department

Philosophy

Advisor

Philip Swenson

Committee Members

Molly Swetnam-Burland

Noah Lemos

Abstract

The Repugnant Conclusion is the conclusion that for any world of people living moderately good lives, there exists another, better, world of far more people living far worse lives. This thesis examines a number of proposed solutions to the repugnant conclusion and comes to the conclusion that none of them are satisfactory. Instead, it proposes that the repugnant conclusion may be true in value theoretic terms, but might not be repugnant if it does not underlie any significant ethical implications. Ethical egoism is defended as an ethical system under which the ethical implications of the repugnant conclusion are successfully minimized. A number of objections to ethical egoism, including objections from the failure to solve collective action dilemmas and the limitation of autonomy, are considered in order to establish that ethical egoism is sufficiently reasonable to serve as an avenue to attack the repugnance of the repugnant conclusion.

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