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  • 1.
    Espinoza, Nicolas
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Arts, Communication and Education, Education, Language, and Teaching.
    Comparing values: essays on comparability, transitivity, and vagueness2008Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    The primary aim of this thesis is to examine some of the arguments that have been leveled against the idea that all value bearing entities are comparable. A secondary aim is to investigate some putative properties of the relation ‘better than', especially transitivity and (to some degree) vagueness. Also, some of the consequences of accepting incomparability are investigated, both with regards to other value theoretical issues, such as the implications for monadic value predicates, and with regards to more applied issues, such as the comparison of risks. PAPER I is a critical examination of the so-called small-improvement argument for incomparability. It is demonstrated that the value structure this argument is able to distinguish is compatible not only with incomparability but also with a kind of evaluative indeterminacy that is distinct from incomparability. PAPER II argues that if the possibility of non-conventional value relations is granted it follows that some things that have value are neither good, bad, nor neutral. This counterintuitive conclusion is reached by combining two individually plausible analyses of value. PAPER III addresses the phenomenon of incomplete preferences. It is shown how it is possible to model incomplete preference orderings by means of probabilistic preferences, and how to reveal an agent's incomplete preference ordering within a behaviorist framework. PAPER IV examines another version of the small-improvement argument designed to establish the rationality of incomplete preferences. It is argued that while there might be reasons to believe each of the premises in this version, there is a conflict between these reasons. The conflict is such that we are not provided with a reason to believe the conjunction of the premises. And without support for the conjunction of the premises the small-improvement argument for incomparability fails. PAPER V defends the common sense claim that ‘better than' is transitive against the compelling counterexamples provided by Larry Temkin and Stuart Rachels. It is demonstrated that the contradiction that follows from accepting Temkin and Rachels' premises trades on the vagueness of ‘better than', and so does not warrant the rejection of transitivity, but rather the conclusion that ‘better than' is vague. PAPER VI applies the notions of incommensurability and incomparability to comparative risk analysis. It is argued that if risks are incommensurable, and thereby resistant to accurate comparisons in terms of severity, we cannot perform accurate and cost effective trade-offs between risks and their associated benefits

  • 2.
    Espinoza, Nicolas
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Arts, Communication and Education, Education, Language, and Teaching.
    Incommensurability: the failure to compare risks2008In: The ethics of technological Risk, London: Earthscan / James & James, 2008, p. 128-143Chapter in book (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    'A comprehensive and important collection that includes essays by some of the leading figures in the field. ...Essential reading for anyone interested in risk assessment.' Professor Kristin Shrader-Frechette, University of Notre Dame 'The editors are to be congratulated for bringing together a distinguished international group of theorists to reflect on the issues. This volume will be sure to raise the level of debate while at the same time showing the importance of philosophical reflection in approaches to the problems of the age.' Professor Jonathan Wolff, University College London This volume brings together top authors from the fields of risk, philosophy, social sciences and psychology to address the issue of how we should decide how far technological risks are morally acceptable or not. The underlying principles are examined, along with methodological challenges, public involvement and instruments for democratization. A strong theoretical basis is complemented by a range of case studies from some of the most contentious areas, including medical ethics and GM crops. This book is a vital new resource for researchers, students and anyone concerned that traditional approaches to risk management don't adequately address ethical considerations.

  • 3.
    Espinoza, Nicolas
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Arts, Communication and Education, Education, Language, and Teaching.
    Margins of error in value comparisons2007In: Vol. 80, no 3Article in journal (Refereed)
  • 4.
    Espinoza, Nicolas
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Arts, Communication and Education, Education, Language, and Teaching.
    Some new monadic value predicates2009In: American Philosophical Quarterly, ISSN 0003-0481, E-ISSN 2152-1123, Vol. 46, no 1, p. 31-37Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Some things have positive value and some things have negative value. The things with positive value are good and the things with negative value are bad. There are also things in-between that are neither good nor bad, which are neutral. All in all, then, there are three monadic value predicates: "good," "bad," and "neutral."

  • 5.
    Espinoza, Nicolas
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Arts, Communication and Education, Education, Language, and Teaching.
    The small improvement argument2008In: Synthese, ISSN 0039-7857, E-ISSN 1573-0964, Vol. 165, no 1, p. 127-139Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    It is commonly assumed that moral deliberation requires that the alternatives available in a choice situation are evaluatively comparable. This comparability assumption is threatened by claims of incomparability, which is often established by means of the small improvement argument (SIA). In this paper I argue that SIA does not establish incomparability in a stricter sense. The reason is that it fails to distinguish incomparability from a kind of evaluative indeterminacy which may arise due to the vagueness of the evaluative comparatives ‘better than,' ‘worse than,' and ‘equally as good as.'

  • 6.
    Espinoza, Nicolas
    et al.
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Arts, Communication and Education, Education, Language, and Teaching.
    Peterson, Martin
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Arts, Communication and Education, Education, Language, and Teaching.
    Incomplete preferences in disaster risk management2008In: International Journal of Technology, Policy and Management, ISSN 1468-4322, E-ISSN 1741-5292, Vol. 8, no 4, p. 341-358Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This paper addresses the phenomenon of incomplete preferences in disaster risk management. If an agent finds two options to be incomparable and thus has an incomplete preference ordering, i.e., neither prefers one option over the other nor finds them equally as good, it is not possible for the agent to perform a value tradeoff, necessary for an informed decision, between these two options. In this paper we suggest a way to model incomplete preference orderings by means of probabilistic preferences, and how to reveal an agent's incomplete preference ordering within a behaviorist framework.

  • 7.
    Peterson, Martin
    et al.
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Arts, Communication and Education, Education, Language, and Teaching.
    Espinoza, Nicolas
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Arts, Communication and Education, Education, Language, and Teaching.
    Ojämförbara risker?2008In: Risk & Risici, Nora: Bokförlaget Nya Doxa, 2008, p. 269-285Chapter in book (Other academic)
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