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Better than nothing: on defining the valence of a life

Brown, Campbell ORCID: 0000-0001-9821-9710 (2023) Better than nothing: on defining the valence of a life. Economics and Philosophy. ISSN 0266-2671

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Identification Number: 10.1017/S0266267123000305


The valence of a life – that is, whether it is good, bad or neutral – is an important consideration in population ethics. This paper examines various definitions of valence. The main focus is ‘temporal’ definitions, which define valence in terms of the ‘shape’ of a life’s value over time. The paper argues that temporal definitions are viable only with a restricted domain, and therefore are incompatible with certain substantive theories of well-being. It also briefly considers some popular non-temporal definitions, and raises some problems for these.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2023 The Author(s)
Divisions: Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
Date Deposited: 24 Aug 2023 10:51
Last Modified: 07 Jul 2024 19:42

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