Thursday, January 1, 2015

Lew and Pru romantic comedy philosophical thought experiment fanfic


Once there was a post by John Holbo on a blog called Crooked Timber that was about a philosophical thought experiment from Amartya Sen -- 'his celebrated Prude/Lewd example' -- which G.A. Cohen summarized in Rescuing Justice and Equality as follows:

Lewd has two relevant desires: he likes to read pornographic books, and he would like Prude to read one, because he thinks doing so would corrupt Prude into liking pornography. So strong is that desire that Lewd would prefer Prude to read the book, rather than read it himself; his desire to corrupt exceeds his desire to enjoy his own corruption. For his part, Prude dislikes reading pornographic books, and he also dislikes Lewd reading them; he wants no one to read them, but he prefers reading the book himself to Lewd reading it: that way, he thinks, less danger lies. In light of the strengths of their preferences, Prude and Lewd agree that Prude (alone) will read the book. That is their joint first preference, and so it is required by the Pareto principle. Sen claims that the principle thereby endorses an illiberal result. (p. 187)

John Holbo suggested that stories about this pair be written, people gave various ideas in comments, and from all these ideas I decided to write philosophical fanfic.

Here it is: a romantic comedy adventure story with thought experiments. And pornographic novels.

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