Axiological Actualism and the Converse Intuition

Australasian Journal of Philosophy 81:1 (2003), pp. 123–5
In 'Axiological Actualism' Josh Parsons argues that 'axiological actualism', which is 'the doctrine that ethical theory should refrain from assigning levels of welfare, or preference orderings, or anything of the sort to merely possible people', lends plausibility to 'the converse intuition'. This is the proposition that 'the welfare a person would have, were they actual, can give us a reason not to bring that person into existence'. I show that Parsons's argument delivers less than he promises. It could be convincing only to actualists who hold certain views about normative ethics, and could at most convince them to heed the converse intuition only under certain circumstances.