Spurious Unanimity and the Pareto Principle

Abstract
The Pareto principle states that if the members of society express the same preference judgment between two options, this judgment is compelling for society. A building block of normative economics and social choice theory, and often borrowed by contemporary political philosophy, the principle has rarely been subjected to philosophical criticism. The paper objects to it on the ground that it indifferently applies to those cases in which the individuals agree on both their expressed preferences and their reasons for entertaining them, and those cases in which they agree on their expressed preferences, while differing on their reasons. The latter are cases of "spurious unanimity", and it is normatively inappropriate, or so the paper argues, to defend unanimity preservation at the social level for them, so the Pareto principle is formulated much too broadly. The objection seems especially powerful when the principle is applied in an ex ante context of uncertainty, in which individuals can disagree on both their probabilities and utilities, and nonetheless agree on their preferences over prospects.
Keywords Pareto Principle  Unanimity preservation  Spurious Unanimity  Aggregation of ex ante preferences
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index Translate to english
 
Download options
PhilPapers Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 10,738
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Citations of this work BETA
Similar books and articles
Isaac Levi (1990). Pareto Unanimity and Consensus. Journal of Philosophy 87 (9):481-492.
Fred Gifford (1986). Sober's Use of Unanimity in the Units of Selection Problem. PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1986:473 - 482.
Joseph Heath (2006). Envy and Efficiency. Revue de Philosophie Économique 13.
Analytics

Monthly downloads

Added to index

2012-03-30

Total downloads

26 ( #65,524 of 1,098,824 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

6 ( #43,265 of 1,098,824 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature


Discussion
Start a new thread
Order:
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.