Aggregation Without Interpersonal Comparisons of Well‐Being

Download Edit this record How to cite View on PhilPapers
Abstract
This paper is about the role of interpersonal comparisons in Harsanyi's aggregation theorem. Harsanyi interpreted his theorem to show that a broadly utilitarian theory of distribution must be true even if there are no interpersonal comparisons of well-being. How is this possible? The orthodox view is that it is not. Some argue that the interpersonal comparability of well-being is hidden in Harsanyi's premises. Others argue that it is a surprising conclusion of Harsanyi's theorem, which is not presupposed by any one of the premises. I argue instead that Harsanyi was right: his theorem and its weighted-utilitarian conclusion do not require interpersonal comparisons of well-being. The key to making sense of this possibility is to treat Harsanyi's weights as dimensional constants rather than dimensionless numbers.
PhilPapers/Archive ID
NEBAWI
Upload history
First archival date: 2021-03-23
Latest version: 2 (2021-09-21)
View other versions
Added to PP index
2021-03-23

Total views
426 ( #14,578 of 2,445,950 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
382 ( #1,010 of 2,445,950 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks on external links on PhilPapers.