The Repugnant Conclusion

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The Repugnant Conclusion, developed by Derek Parfit, is a theory that tackles population ethics and is based on this statement: "For any possible population of at least ten billion people, all with a very high quality of life, there must be some much larger imaginable population whose existence, if other things are equal, would be better even though its members have lives that are barely worth living". Parfit comes to this conclusion with the following graph.

(see attachment)Figure a has x amount of people with a very high standard of living, figure a+ has double that amount of people, the first of which has a standard of living equal to that of fig. a, and a second group of people with a slightly lower standard of living, yet still a very good one. The theory is that the addition of people who have a slightly lower standard of living is still a worthwhile one, and at least no worse than just group a.

Group b has the same amount of people as group a, but a slightly higher standard of living. This makes group b better than a+, and since a+ is no worse than a, one must come to the conclusion that group b is better than group a.

The theory that concludes in saying that having a billion people (for example) with a very low quality of life is better than having one thousand people who have a great quality of life. The key term here is 'better'When repeated until group z reached, one must come to the conclusion that z, a group with an extremely low standard of living, yet a large population sharing that standard of living, is 'better' than group a. This is clearly not the case.

In figure a, belongs education and...