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The priority view

Economics and Philosophy 33 (2):215–57 (2017)

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  1. 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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  • Probability in Ethics.David McCarthy - 2016 - In Alan Hájek & Christopher Hitchcock (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy and Probability. Oxford University Press. pp. 705–737.
    The article is a plea for ethicists to regard probability as one of their most important concerns. It outlines a series of topics of central importance in ethical theory in which probability is implicated, often in a surprisingly deep way, and lists a number of open problems. Topics covered include: interpretations of probability in ethical contexts; the evaluative and normative significance of risk or uncertainty; uses and abuses of expected utility theory; veils of ignorance; Harsanyi’s aggregation theorem; population size problems; (...)
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  • Utilitarianism with and Without Expected Utility.David McCarthy, Kalle Mikkola & Teruji Thomas - 2016 - MPRA Paper No. 90125.
    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 individual preorder then uniquely determines a social 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 also consistent with the rejection of all (...)
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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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