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Priority, Preference and Value

  • MARTIN O'NEILL (a1)
Abstract

This article seeks to defend prioritarianism against a pair of challenges from Michael Otsuka and Alex Voorhoeve. Otsuka and Voorhoeve first argue that prioritarianism makes implausible recommendations in one-person cases under conditions of risk, as it fails to allow that it is reasonable to act to maximize expected utility, rather than expected weighted benefits, in such cases. I show that, in response, prioritarians can either reject Otsuka and Voorhoeve's claim, by means of appealing to a distinction between personal and impersonal value, or alternatively they can harmlessly accommodate it, by means of appealing to the status of prioritarianism as a view about the moral value of outcomes, rather than as an account of all-things-considered reasonable action. Otsuka and Voorhoeve secondly claim that prioritarianism fails to explain a divergence in our considered moral judgement between one-person and many-person cases. I show that the prioritarian has two alternative, and independently plausible, lines of response to this charge, one more concessive and the other more unyielding. Hence, neither of Otsuka and Voorhoeve's challenges need seriously trouble the prioritarian.

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This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

Michael Otsuka and Alex Voorhoeve , ‘Why it Matters that Some are Worse Off than Others: An Argument Against the Priority View’, Philosophy & Public Affairs, 37 (2009), pp. 169–97

Martin O'Neill , ‘What Should Egalitarians Believe?’, Philosophy & Public Affairs 36 (2008), pp. 119–56, at 152

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Utilitas
  • ISSN: 0953-8208
  • EISSN: 1741-6183
  • URL: /core/journals/utilitas
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