Say a universe is worthy iff it’s worth creating. Let M be the multiverse containing all and only the worthy possible universes. Is M the best multiverse? Here is an argument to the contrary. Somewhere in M, there will be an infinite sequence of universes u1,u2,…, with u2 better than u1, u3 better than u2, and so on, such that these universes differ from one another only in the magnitude of a single minor evil. For concreteness, suppose that in each of these universes, there is a counterpart of me who has a mosquito bite that doesn’t affect his life. In u1, the bite itches for one hour. In u2, it itches for half an hour. In u3, for a quarter of an hour. And that’s the only difference. (Maybe this happens during a time in the person’s life where he does nothing but itch or not itch, and later he forget this time.) Call the universes from this sequence u-universes.
June 30, 2011 — 11:15
Author: Alexander Pruss Category: Uncategorized Tags: arguments, evil, infinity, Klaas Kraay, time Comments: 42
Now, let M* be a multiverse containing all and only the worthy possible universes other than u1.
If M is the best multiverse, M has to be better than M*. But this is far from clear. There is a one-to-one correspondence f between the universes of M and M*, where universes that aren’t in the sequence u1,u2,… correspond to themselves (f(u)=u), while f(u1) = u2, f(u2) = u3, and so on. Then, for any universe u in M, either f(u)=u, or f(u) is just like u, except that my counterpart have a shorter length of itching from the mosquito bite in u than in f(u). How can M be better than M*, then?
Well, M is surely not aggregatively better. How could it be, given the correspondence? We describe the difference between M and M* as follows: M is just like M*, except that if anything it has some more itching.
So if it is better, it must be in virtue of a non-aggregative value. The best proposal, which Klaas Kraay made in response to my arguments in the previous multiverse post, is that M maximally exemplifies the value of diversity. But notice that M and M* exemplify the same diversity of goods. The only difference is that M exemplifies a greater diversity of bads: it contains a u-universe with my counterpart having an hour of itching from the relevant bite, while M* does not contain that u-universe. However, both M and M* contain the same countable infinity of u-universes, and they contain all the same diversity of goods from the u-universes and the non-u-universes.