Advanced

Prioritarianism for Prospects

Rabinowicz, Wlodek LU (2002) In Utilitas 14. p.2-21
Abstract
The Interpersonal Addition Theorem, due to John Broome, states that, given certain seemingly innocuous assumptions, the overall utility of an uncertain prospect can be represented as the sum of its individual (expected) utilities. Given ‘Bernoulli’s hypothesis’, according to which individual utility coincides with individual welfare, this results appears to be incompatible with the Priority View. On that view, due to Derek Parfit, the benefits to the worse off should count for more, in the overall evaluation, than the comparable benefits to the better off. Pace Broome, the paper argues that prioritarians should meet this challenge not by denying Bernoulli’s hypothesis, but by rejecting one of the basic assumptions behind the addition... (More)
The Interpersonal Addition Theorem, due to John Broome, states that, given certain seemingly innocuous assumptions, the overall utility of an uncertain prospect can be represented as the sum of its individual (expected) utilities. Given ‘Bernoulli’s hypothesis’, according to which individual utility coincides with individual welfare, this results appears to be incompatible with the Priority View. On that view, due to Derek Parfit, the benefits to the worse off should count for more, in the overall evaluation, than the comparable benefits to the better off. Pace Broome, the paper argues that prioritarians should meet this challenge not by denying Bernoulli’s hypothesis, but by rejecting one of the basic assumptions behind the addition theorem: that a prospect is better overall if it is better for everyone. This conclusion follows if one interprets the priority weights that are imposed by prioritarians as relevant only to moral, but not to prudential, evaluations of prospects. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
in
Utilitas
volume
14
pages
2 - 21
publisher
Cambridge University Press
external identifiers
  • scopus:85007994896
ISSN
0953-8208
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
ec5e5ba4-1941-4710-9092-f067308b06d7 (old id 765554)
date added to LUP
2007-12-21 11:41:06
date last changed
2017-07-23 04:46:54
@article{ec5e5ba4-1941-4710-9092-f067308b06d7,
  abstract     = {The Interpersonal Addition Theorem, due to John Broome, states that, given certain seemingly innocuous assumptions, the overall utility of an uncertain prospect can be represented as the sum of its individual (expected) utilities. Given ‘Bernoulli’s hypothesis’, according to which individual utility coincides with individual welfare, this results appears to be incompatible with the Priority View. On that view, due to Derek Parfit, the benefits to the worse off should count for more, in the overall evaluation, than the comparable benefits to the better off. Pace Broome, the paper argues that prioritarians should meet this challenge not by denying Bernoulli’s hypothesis, but by rejecting one of the basic assumptions behind the addition theorem: that a prospect is better overall if it is better for everyone. This conclusion follows if one interprets the priority weights that are imposed by prioritarians as relevant only to moral, but not to prudential, evaluations of prospects.},
  author       = {Rabinowicz, Wlodek},
  issn         = {0953-8208},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {2--21},
  publisher    = {Cambridge University Press},
  series       = {Utilitas},
  title        = {Prioritarianism for Prospects},
  volume       = {14},
  year         = {2002},
}