THE CASE AGAINST MELIORISM: VEILED TRAGEDIES, OR WHEN COST–BENEFIT ANALYSIS IS IN PRINCIPLE IMPOSSIBLE

Authors

  • Joseph S. Fulda


Joseph S. Fulda (PhD) is a teacher-scholar whose fields include artificial intelligence, symbolic logic and classical liberal thought (fulda@acm.org).

Abstract

The philosophy of meliorism seeks to spread the cost of the tragedies of the few over the many, thus easing the suffering of the few, while hardly burdening the many. The problem with this is that such cost-spreading itself causes tragedies, except that the tragedies are veiled – they are not only unknown; they cannot, in principle, be known. Thus meliorism distributes not from the tragic few to the ordinary many, but from the visibly tragic few to another group of tragic few, the latter group unseen and unknown, hence unable to complain about this state of affairs.

Ancillary