Value Receptacles


  • Richard Yetter Chappell

    1. University of Pennsylvania/Bowling Green State University
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    • Thanks to Nate Gadd, Daniel Greco, Elizabeth Harman, Hrishikesh Joshi, Eden Lin, Brennan McDavid, Tim Mulgan, Philip Pettit, Peter Singer, Michael Smith, Pablo Stafforini, and Helen Yetter-Chappell, for helpful comments and discussion.


Utilitarianism is often rejected on the grounds that it fails to respect the separateness of persons, instead treating people as mere “receptacles of value”. I develop several different versions of this objection, and argue that, despite their prima facie plausibility, they are all mistaken. Although there are crude forms of utilitarianism that run afoul of these objections, I advance a new form of the view—‘token-pluralistic utilitarianism’—that does not.