Population ethics in an infinite universe

52 Pages Posted: 4 Aug 2021

See all articles by Marcus Pivato

Marcus Pivato

Université Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne - Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne (CES)

Date Written: August 1, 2021

Abstract

Population ethics studies the tradeoff between the total number of people who will ever live, and their quality of life. But widely accepted theories in modern cosmology say that spacetime is probably infinite. In this case, its population is also probably infinite, so the quantity/quality tradeoff of population ethics is no longer meaningful. Instead, we face the problem of how to ethically evaluate an infinite population of people dispersed throughout time and space. I propose spatiotemporal Cesàro average utility as a way to make this evaluation, and axiomatically characterize it.

Keywords: population ethics; average utilitarian; Cesàro average; infinite population; Repugnant Conclusion

JEL Classification: D63, D71

Suggested Citation

Pivato, Marcus, Population ethics in an infinite universe (August 1, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3897345 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3897345

Marcus Pivato (Contact Author)

Université Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne - Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne (CES) ( email )

106-112 Boulevard de l'hopital
Paris Cedex 13, 75647
France

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