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Non-Welfarist Population Ethics (by Ralph Wedgwood)

Most contemporary work in population ethics operates within the framework of welfarism – the assumption that individual welfare is the fundamental value. But this framework is a straitjacket, leading population ethics into a labyrinth of sterile paradoxes. Once welfarism is rejected, a vastly more plausible approach to population ethics becomes available.

The approach that I favour involves a kind of perfectionism at the level of society. Of course, the welfare of individuals comes into the story. But as I shall explain, it is by no means the whole story.

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