1st Edition

Value Incommensurability Ethics, Risk, and Decision-Making

Edited By Henrik Andersson, Anders Herlitz Copyright 2022
    278 Pages 22 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    278 Pages 22 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Incommensurability is the impossibility to determine how two options relate to each other in terms of conventional comparative relations. This book features new research on incommensurability from philosophers who have shaped the field into what it is today, including John Broome, Ruth Chang and Wlodek Rabinowicz.

    The book covers four aspects relating to incommensurability. In the first part, the contributors synthesize research on the competing views of how to best explain incommensurability. Part II illustrates how incommensurability can help us deal with seemingly insurmountable problems in ethical theory and population ethics. The contributors address the Repugnant Conclusion, the Mere Addition Paradox and so-called Spectrum Arguments. The chapters in Part III outline and summarize problems caused by incommensurability for decision theory. Finally, Part IV tackles topics related to risk, uncertainty and incommensurability.

    Value Incommensurability: Ethics, Risk, and Decision-Making will be of interest to researchers and advanced students working in ethical theory, decision theory, action theory, and philosophy of economics.


    Henrik Andersson and Anders Herlitz

    Part I: Accounts of Incommensurability

    1. Incommensurability is Vagueness

    John Broome

    2. Are Hard Cases Vague Cases? 

    Ruth Chang

    3. Parity without Imprecise Equality

    Chrisoula Andreou

    Part II: Incommensurability and Ethical Theory

    4. On "Incommensurability,"Discontinuity," and the Repugnant Conclusion: "Imprecise Equality" or Vagueness?

    Mozaffar Qizilbash

    5. Spectrum Arguments, Indeterminacy, and Value Superiority

    Henrik Andersson

    6. Incommensurability and Vagueness in Population Axiology

    Gustaf Arrhenius

    Part III: Incommensurability and Decision Theory

    7. Nondeterminacy and Reasonable Choice

    Anders Herlitz

    8. Cross-Categorical Value Comparisons

    Krister Bykvist

    9. What Does Incommensurability Tell Us about Agency?

    Luke Elson

    Part IV: Incommensurability, Risk and Uncertainty

    10. Incommensurability Meets Risk

    Wlodek Rabinowicz

    11. Incommensurability That Can(not) Be ignored

    Katie Steele

    12. Hard Choices Made Harder

    Ryan Doody


    Henrik Andersson is a postdoc at Lund University. His research has had a focus on value theory and especially the phenomenon of value incommensurability. In his current research project, he applies recent results from value theory in order to address the hard choices we face when we aim to combat climate change.

    Anders Herlitz is a researcher at the Institute for Futures Studies in Stockholm. His research focuses on comparability problems and rational choice, especially in relation to distributive theory. He is currently working on a monograph addressing how to distribute scarce health resources.