Essentially Comparative Concepts
by Jonathan Dancy
This paper examines Larry Temkin’s notion of an ‘essentially comparative’ concept and the uses to which he puts it. It is suggested that this notion is a conflation of two distinct notions which need not go together. This leads to a critical examination of Temkin’s arguments that certain central ethical concepts (equality, maximin, utility) are essentially comparative. These arguments are often found wanting, as is Temkin’s treatment of the Person Affecting View.
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