Skip to main content
×
Home

UTILITARIANISM AND PRIORITARIANISM II

  • David McCarthy (a1)
Abstract

The priority view has become very popular in moral philosophy, but there is a serious question about how it should be formalized. The most natural formalization leads to ex post prioritarianism, which results from adding expected utility theory to the main ideas of the priority view. But ex post prioritarianism entails a claim which is too implausible for it to be a serious competitor to utilitarianism. In fact, ex post prioritarianism was probably never a genuine alternative to utilitarianism in the first place. By contrast, ex ante prioritarianism is defensible. But its motivation is very different from the usual rationales offered for the priority view. Given the untenability of ex post prioritarianism, it is more natural for most friends of the priority view to revert to utilitarianism.

Copyright
References
Hide All
Aczél J. 1966. Lectures on functional equations and their applications. New York: Academic Press.
Broome J. Basingstoke: 1989. What's the good of equality? In Current Issues in Microeconomics, ed. Hey J. D.. Basingstoke: Macmillan. 236262.
Broome J. 1991. Weighing goods. Oxford: Blackwell.
Broome J. 2004. Weighing lives. New York: Oxford University Press.
Diamond P. 1967. Cardinal welfare, individualistic ethics, and interpersonal comparisons of utility: comment. Journal of Political Economy 75: 765–66.
Hammond P. 1991. Interpersonal comparisons of utility: why and how they are and should be made. In Interpersonal comparisons of weil-being, eds. Elster J. and Roemer J.. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 200–54.
Hardy G. H., Littlewood J. and Polyà G. 1934. Inequalities. London: Cambridge University Press.
Harsanyi J. 1955. Cardinal welfare, individualistic ethics, and interpersonal comparisons of utility. Journal of Political Economy 63: 309–21.
Harsanyi J. 1975. Nonlinear social welfare functions: do welfare economists have a special exemption from Bayesian rationality? Theory and Decision 6: 311–32.
Harsanyi J. 1977. Nonlinear social welfare functions: a rejoinder to Professor Sen. In Foundational problems in the special sciences, eds. Butts R. and Hintikka J.. Dordrecht: Reidel, 293296.
Hurley S. 1989. Natural reasons. New York: Oxford University Press.
Jensen K. K. 1995. Measuring the size of a benefit and its moral weight. Theoria 61: 2560.
Lewis D. 1968. Counterpart theory and quantified modal logic. Journal of Philosophy 65: 113–26.
McCarthy D. 2006. Utilitarianism and prioritarianism I. Economics and Philosophy 22: 335–63.
McCarthy D. 2007. Measuring life's goodness. Philosophical Books 48: 303–19.
McCarthy D. (ms). Distributive equality.
Parfit D. 2000. Equality or priority? In The ideal of equality, eds. Clayton M. and Williams A.. Basingstoke: Macmillan, 347–86.
Rabinowicz W. 2001. Prioritarianism and uncertainty: on the interpersonal addition theorem and the priority view. In Exploring practical philosophy: from action to values. eds. Egonsson D., Josefsson J., Petersson B. and Rφnnow-Rasmussen T.. Aldershot: Ashgate.
Rabinowicz W. 2002. Prioritarianism for prospects. Utilitas 14: 221.
Rawls J. 1971. A theory of justice. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
Risse M. 2002. Harsanyi's ‘utilitarian theorem’ and utilitarianism. Noûs 36: 550–77.
Scheffler S. 1982. The rejection of consequentialism. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
Tungodden B. 2003. The value of equality. Economics and Philosophy 19: 144.
Wakker P. 1989. Additive representations of preferences. Dordrecht: Kluwer.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Economics & Philosophy
  • ISSN: 0266-2671
  • EISSN: 1474-0028
  • URL: /core/journals/economics-and-philosophy
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 2
Total number of PDF views: 35 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 172 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 21st November 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.