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Negative Utility Monsters

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Many consider Nozick's "utility monster" -- a being more efficient than ordinary people at converting resources into wellbeing, with no upper limit -- a damning counterexample to utilitarianism.  It doesn't seem intuitively right, after all, to give all our resources to this one individual and deprive everyone else in the world, even though this would (ex hypothesi) maximize aggregate welfare.A standard response is to question the coherence of the scenario.  It doesn't even seem like a good outcome, after all, which may be taken to cast doubt on whether we are really imagining sufficiently high monster welfare to really outweigh all the suffering of everyone else in the world.  More directly: I don't think I can positively conceive of arbitrarily high welfare packed into a single life. Further, I think there are principled reasons to think this impossible -- but even if I'm wrong about that, our imaginative resistance is enough to explain away our intuitions. . .

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