Interpersonal Comparisons of What?

Journal of Philosophy 120 (1):5-41 (2023)
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Abstract

I examine the once popular claim according to which interpersonal comparisons of welfare are necessary for social choice. I side with current social choice theorists in emphasizing that, on a narrow construal, this necessity claim is refuted beyond appeal. However, I depart from the opinion presently prevailing in social choice theory in highlighting that on a broader construal, this claim proves not only compatible with, but even comforted by, the current state of the field. I submit that all in all, the most accurate philosophical assessment consists not in flatly rejecting this necessity claim, but in accepting it in a suitably revised form.

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Jean Baccelli
University of Oxford

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