Tyler Cowen on axiology: I see the good as more holistic than additive-aggregative

These days, I see the good as more holistic than additive-aggregative. […] We can make some gross comparisons of better and worse at the macro level, with partial rankings at best, but for many individualized normative comparisons there simply isn’t a right answer.  I view ranking” as a luxury, occasionally available, rather than an axiomatic postulate which can be used to generate normative comparisons, and thus normative paradoxes, at will.  I see that response as different than allowing or embracing intransitivity across multiple alternatives and in that regard my final position differs from Temkin’s.  Furthermore, in a holistic approach, the pure micro welfare numbers” used to generate the paradoxical comparisons aren’t necessarily there in the first place but rather they have to be derived from our intuitions about the whole.


quote tyler cowen moral philosophy axiology larry tempkin