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  1. The Importance of What People Care About.Marc Fleurbaey - 2012 - Politics, Philosophy and Economics 11 (4):415-447.
    Happiness studies have rekindled interest in the measurement of subjective well-being, and often claim to track faithfully ‘what people care about’ in their lives. It is argued in this article that seeking to respect individuals’ preferences in the context of making intrapersonal and interpersonal comparisons for social evaluation has important and somewhat surprising implications, which shed light, in particular, on subjective measures and their objective alternatives, such as Sen’s capability approach. Four points are made. First, raw subjective well-being scores are (...)
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  • Calibration Dilemmas in the Ethics of Distribution.Jacob M. Nebel & H. Orri Stefánsson - forthcoming - Economics and Philosophy.
    This paper presents a new kind of problem in the ethics of distribution. The problem takes the form of several “calibration dilemmas,” in which intuitively reasonable aversion to small-stakes inequalities requires leading theories of distribution to recommend intuitively unreasonable aversion to large-stakes inequalities. We first lay out a series of such dilemmas for prioritarian theories. We then consider a widely endorsed family of egalitarian views and show that they are subject to even more forceful calibration dilemmas than prioritarian theories. Finally, (...)
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  • Decision Under Normative Uncertainty.Franz Dietrich & Brian Jabarian - forthcoming - Economics and Philosophy.
    While ordinary decision theory focuses on empirical uncertainty, real decision-makers also face normative uncertainty: uncertainty about value itself. From a purely formal perspective, normative uncertainty is comparable to (Harsanyian or Rawlsian) identity uncertainty in the 'original position', where one's future values are unknown. A comprehensive decision theory must address twofold uncertainty -- normative and empirical. We present a simple model of twofold uncertainty, and show that the most popular decision principle -- maximising expected value (`Expectationalism') -- has different formulations, namely (...)
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  • Measuring Freedom, and its Value.Nicolas Cote - 2021 - Dissertation, London School of Economics
    This thesis concerns the measurement of freedom, and its value. Specifically, I am concerned with three overarching questions. First, can we measure the extent of an individual’s freedom? It had better be that we can, otherwise much ordinary and intuitive talk that we would like to vindicate – say, about free persons being freer than slaves – will turn out to be false or meaningless. Second, in what ways is freedom valuable, and how is this value measured? It matters, for (...)
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  • Non-Additive Axiologies in Large Worlds.Christian Tarsney & Teruji Thomas - manuscript
    Is the overall value of a world just the sum of values contributed by each value-bearing entity in that world? Additively separable axiologies (like total utilitarianism, prioritarianism, and critical level views) say 'yes', but non-additive axiologies (like average utilitarianism, rank-discounted utilitarianism, and variable value views) say 'no'. This distinction is practically important: additive axiologies support 'arguments from astronomical scale' which suggest (among other things) that it is overwhelmingly important for humanity to avoid premature extinction and ensure the existence of a (...)
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  • Weighing and Aggregating Reasons Under Uncertainty: A Trilemma.Ittay Nissan-Rozen - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 178 (9):2853-2871.
    I discuss the trilemma that consists of the following three principles being inconsistent: 1. The Common Principle: if one distribution, A, necessarily brings a higher total sum of personal value that is distributed in a more egalitarian way than another distribution, B, A is more valuable than B. 2. (Weak) ex-ante Pareto: if one uncertain distribution, A, is more valuable than another uncertain distribution, B, for each patient, A is more valuable than B. 3. Pluralism about attitudes to risk (Pluralism): (...)
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  • Utilitarianism with and Without Expected Utility.David McCarthy, Kalle Mikkola & Joaquin Teruji Thomas - 2020 - Journal of Mathematical Economics 87:77-113.
    We give two social aggregation theorems under conditions of risk, one for constant population cases, the other an extension to variable populations. Intra and interpersonal welfare comparisons are encoded in a single ‘individual preorder’. The theorems give axioms that uniquely determine a social preorder in terms of this individual preorder. The social preorders described by these theorems have features that may be considered characteristic of Harsanyi-style utilitarianism, such as indifference to ex ante and ex post equality. However, the theorems are (...)
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  • Why Variable-Population Social Orderings Cannot Escape the Repugnant Conclusion: Proofs and Implications.Dean Spears & Mark Budolfson - 2019
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  • An Intrapersonal Addition Paradox.Jacob M. Nebel - 2019 - Ethics 129 (2):309-343.
    I present a new argument for the repugnant conclusion. The core of the argument is a risky, intrapersonal analogue of the mere addition paradox. The argument is important for three reasons. First, some solutions to Parfit’s original puzzle do not obviously generalize to the intrapersonal puzzle in a plausible way. Second, it raises independently important questions about how to make decisions under uncertainty for the sake of people whose existence might depend on what we do. And, third, it suggests various (...)
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  • Prioritarianism: A Response to Critics.Matthew D. Adler & Nils Holtug - 2019 - Politics, Philosophy and Economics 18 (2):101-144.
    Prioritarianism is a moral view that ranks outcomes according to the sum of a strictly increasing and strictly concave transformation of individual well-being. Prioritarianism is ‘welfarist’ (namel...
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  • Does the Repugnant Conclusion Have Important Implications for Axiology or for Public Policy?Mark Budolfson & Dean Spears - forthcoming - In Oxford Handbook of Population Ethics.
    Formal arguments have proven that avoiding the Repugnant Conclusion is impossible without rejecting one or more highly plausible population principles. To many, such proofs establish not only a deep challenge for axiology, but also pose an important practical problem of how policymaking can confidently proceed without resolving any of the central questions of population ethics. Here we offer deflationary responses: first to the practical challenge, and then to the more fundamental challenge for axiology. Regarding the practical challenge, we provide an (...)
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  • Distributive Equality.David McCarthy - 2015 - Mind 124 (496):1045-1109.
    Egalitarians think that equality in the distribution of goods somehow matters. But what exactly is egalitarianism? This article argues for a characterization based on novel principles essentially involving risk. The characterization is then used to resolve disputed questions about egalitarianism. These include: the way egalitarianism is concerned with patterns, in particular its relationship to strong separability; the relationship between egalitarianism and other distributive views, such as concerns with fairness and with giving priority to the worse off; and the relationship between (...)
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  • The Priority View.David McCarthy - 2017 - Economics and Philosophy 33 (2):215–57.
    According to the priority view, or prioritarianism, it matters more to benefit people the worse off they are. But how exactly should the priority view be defined? This article argues for a highly general characterization which essentially involves risk, but makes no use of evaluative measurements or the expected utility axioms. A representation theorem is provided, and when further assumptions are added, common accounts of the priority view are recovered. A defense of the key idea behind the priority view, the (...)
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  • The Ethics of Making Risky Decisions for Others.Luc Bovens - 2019 - In Mark D. White (ed.), Oxford Handbook of Ethics and Economics. Oxford University Press. pp. 446-473.
    Utilitarianism, it has been said, is not sensitive to the distribution of welfare. In making risky decisions for others there are multiple sensitivities at work. I present examples of risky decision-making involving drug allocations, charitable giving, breast-cancer screening and C-sections. In each of these examples there is a different sensitivity at work that pulls away from the utilitarian prescription. Instances of saving fewer people at a greater risk to many is more complex because there are two distributional sensitivities at work (...)
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  • Concerns for the Poorly Off in Ordering Risky Prospects.Luc Bovens - 2015 - Economics and Philosophy 31 (3):397-429.
    The Distribution View provides a model that integrates four distributional concerns in the evaluation of risky prospects. Starting from these concerns, we can generate an ordering over a set of risky prospects, or, starting from an ordering, we can extract a characterization of the underlying distributional concerns. Separability of States and/or Persons for multiple-person risky prospects, for single-person risky prospects and for multiple-person certain prospects are discussed within the model. The Distribution View sheds light on public health policies and provides (...)
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  • Evaluating Risky Prospects: The Distribution View.Luc Bovens - 2015 - Analysis 75 (2):243-253.
    Risky prospects represent policies that impose different types of risks on multiple people. I present an example from food safety. A utilitarian following Harsanyi's Aggregation Theorem ranks such prospects according to their mean expected utility or the expectation of the social utility. Such a ranking is not sensitive to any of four types of distributional concerns. I develop a model that lets the policy analyst rank prospects relative to the distributional concerns that she considers fitting in the context at hand. (...)
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  • Review of Matthew D. Adler: Well-Being and Fair Distribution. Beyond Cost-Benefit Analysis. [REVIEW]Alex Voorhoeve - 2014 - Social Choice and Welfare 42 (1):245-54.
    In this extended book review, I summarize Adler's views and critically analyze his key arguments on the measurement of well-being and the foundations of prioritarianism.
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  • Evaluating Life or Death Prospects.Luc Bovens & Marc Fleurbaey - 2012 - Economics and Philosophy 28 (2):217-249.
    We consider a special set of risky prospects in which the outcomes are either life or death. There are various alternatives to the utilitarian objective of minimizing the expected loss of lives in such prospects. We start off with the two-person case with independent risks and construct taxonomies of ex ante and ex post evaluations for such prospects. We examine the relationship between the ex ante and the ex post in this restrictive framework: There are more possibilities to respect ex (...)
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  • Introduction to the Symposium on Equality Versus Priority.Alex Voorhoeve - 2015 - Economics and Philosophy 31 (2):201-202.
    This paper introduces a symposium on Equality versus Priority. It explains how cases involving risk are key to distinguishing these views and discusses a 'social egalitarian' critique of both 'telic egalitarians' and 'telic prioritarians'.
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  • Economics and Economic Justice.Marc Fleurbaey - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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