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Profile: Alex Voorhoeve (London School of Economics)
  1. Alex Voorhoeve (forthcoming). Why Sore Throats Don't Aggregate, but Arms Do. Journal of Medical Ethics.
    When do claims to be saved of a small or moderate harm aggregate against a competing claim to be saved from an early death? In this short response to Kamm's Bioethical Prescriptions, I argue for the following answer: aggregation of weaker claims against a life is permitted just in case, in a one-to-one contest, a person with a weaker claim would have a personal prerogative to prioritize her claim over a stranger’s competing claim to life.
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  2. Alex Voorhoeve & Marc Fleurbaey (forthcoming). On the Social and Personal Value of Existence. In Iwao Hirose & Andrew Reisner (eds.), Weighing and Reasoning: Themes from the Work of John Broome. Oxford University Press.
    If a potential person would have a good life if he were to come into existence, can we coherently regard his coming into existence as better for him than his never coming into existence? And can we regard the situation in which he never comes into existence as worse for him? In this paper, we argue that both questions should be answered affirmatively. We also explain where prominent arguments to differing conclusions go wrong. Finally, we explore the relevance of our (...)
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  3. Alex Voorhoeve, Ole Fritjof Norheim & Trygve Ottersen (forthcoming). Precis of Making Fair Choices on the Path to Universal Health Coverage. Health Economics, Policy and Law.
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  4. Alex Voorhoeve, Trygve Ottersen & Ole Fritjof Norheim (forthcoming). Response to Our Critics. Health Economics, Policy and Law.
    We reply to critics of the World Health Organisation's Report "Making Fair Choices on the Path to Universal Health Coverage". We clarify and defend the report's key moral commitments. We also explain its role in guiding policy in the face of both financial and political constraints on making fair choices.
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  5. Alex Voorhoeve, Trygve Ottersen & Ole Fritjof Norheim, Making Fair Choices on the Path to Universal Health Coverage: A Prėcis.
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  6. Ole Fritjof Norheim, Trygve Ottersen, Alex Voorhoeve, Bonah Chitah, Richard Cookson, Norman Daniels, Nir Eyal, Walter Flores, Axel Gosseries, Daniel Hausman, Samia Hurst, Lydia Kapiriri, Toby Ord, Shlomi Segall & Frehiwot Defaye (2014). Making Fair Choices on the Path to Universal Health Coverage. World Health Organisation.
    This report by the WHO Consultative Group on Equity and Universal Health Coverage addresses how countries can make fair progress towards the goal of universal coverage. It explains the relevant tradeoffs between different desirable ends and offers guidance on how to make these tradeoffs.
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  7. Alex Voorhoeve (2014). How Should We Aggregate Competing Claims? Ethics 125 (1):64-87.
    Many believe that we ought to save a large number from being permanently bedridden rather than save one from death. Many also believe that we ought to save one from death rather than a multitude from a very minor harm, no matter how large this multitude. I argue that a principle I call “Aggregate Relevant Claims” satisfactorily explains these judgments. I offer a rationale for this principle and defend it against objections.
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  8. Alex Voorhoeve (2014). Review of Matthew D. Adler: Well-Being and Fair Distribution. Beyond Cost-Benefit Analysis. [REVIEW] Social Choice and Welfare 42 (1):245-54.
    In this extended book review, I summarize Adler's views and critically analyze his key arguments on the measurement of well-being and the foundations of prioritarianism.
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  9. Alex Voorhoeve (2013). Response to Rabin. In Adam Oliver (ed.), Behavioural Public Policy. Cambridge University Press.
    This chapter analyses the behavioural economist Matthew Rabin's work on biases in decision-making. Rabin argues that these biases cause self-harm and that we should tax individuals to ensure that they do not give in to these biases. The chapter's core question is whether there is a soft-paternalistic justification for these taxes. The answer is nuanced. It argues that Rabin’s description of these biases as “irrational” is not always appropriate—sometimes, for example, they are merely a form of preference change. When they (...)
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  10. Alex Voorhoeve (2013). Vaulting Intuition: Temkin's Critique of Transitivity. Economics and Philosophy 29 (3):409-425.
    In 'Rethinking the Good', Larry Temkin makes two core claims. First, the goodness of a distribution is sometimes ‘essentially comparative’ – it sometimes depends on which alternative distribution(s) it is compared to. Second, such cases threaten the transitivity of ‘all things considered better than’. I argue that the goodness of a distribution may indeed depend on what other distributions are feasible. But contrary to Temkin, I also argue that transitivity holds even when the goodness of a distribution depends on the (...)
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  11. Alex Voorhoeve & Marc Fleurbaey (2013). Decide As You Would With Full Information! An Argument Against Ex Ante Pareto. In Ole Norheim, Samia Hurst, Nir Eyal & Dan Wikler (eds.), Inequalities in Health: Concepts, Measures, and Ethics. Oxford University Press.
    Policy-makers must sometimes choose between an alternative which has somewhat lower expected value for each person, but which will substantially improve the outcomes of the worst off, or an alternative which has somewhat higher expected value for each person, but which will leave those who end up worst off substantially less well off. The popular ex ante Pareto principle requires the choice of the alternative with higher expected utility for each. We argue that ex ante Pareto ought to be rejected (...)
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  12. Marc Fleurbaey & Alex Voorhoeve (2012). Egalitarianism and the Separateness of Persons. Utilitas 24 (3):381-398.
    The difference between the unity of the individual and the separateness of persons requires that there be a shift in the moral weight that we accord to changes in utility when we move from making intrapersonal tradeoffs to making interpersonal tradeoffs. We examine which forms of egalitarianism can, and which cannot, account for this shift. We argue that a form of egalitarianism which is concerned only with the extent of outcome inequality cannot account for this shift. We also argue that (...)
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  13. Alex Voorhoeve, Ken Binmore & Lisa Stewart (2012). How Much Ambiguity Aversion? Finding Indifferences Between Ellsberg's Risky and Ambiguous Bets. Journal of Risk and Uncertainty 45 (3):215-38.
    Experimental results on the Ellsberg paradox typically reveal behavior that is commonly interpreted as ambiguity aversion. The experiments reported in the current paper find the objective probabilities for drawing a red ball that make subjects indifferent between various risky and uncertain Ellsberg bets. They allow us to examine the predictive power of alternative principles of choice under uncertainty, including the objective maximin and Hurwicz criteria, the sure-thing principle, and the principle of insufficient reason. Contrary to our expectations, the principle of (...)
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  14. Nir Eyal & Alex Voorhoeve (2011). Inequalities in HIV Care: Chances Versus Outcomes. American Journal of Bioethics 11 (12):42-44.
    We analyse three moral dilemmas involving resource allocation in care for HIV-positive patients. Ole Norheim and Kjell Arne Johansson have argued that these cases reveal a tension between egalitarian concerns and concerns for better population health. We argue, by contrast, that these cases reveal a tension between, on the one hand, a concern for equal *chances*, and, on the other hand, both a concern for better health and an egalitarian concern for equal *outcomes*. We conclude that, in these cases, there (...)
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  15. Michael Otsuka & Alex Voorhoeve (2011). Reply to Crisp. Utilitas 23 (1):109-114.
    In 'Why It Matters that Some Are Worse off than Others,' we offer a new critique of the Priority View. In a recent article, Roger Crisp has argued that our critique is flawed. In this reply Crisp, we show that Crisp fails to grapple with, much less defeat, the central claim of our critique. We also show that an example that Crisp offers in support of the Priority View in fact lends support to our critique of that view.
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  16. Alex Voorhoeve (2011). Philippa Foot. The Philosophers' Magazine 52 (1):9-9.
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  17. Alex Voorhoeve, Frances Kamm, Elie During, Timothy Wilson & David Jopling (2011). Who Am I? Beyond 'I Think, Therefore I Am'. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 1234:134-148.
    Can we ever truly answer the question, “Who am I?” Moderated by Alex Voorhoeve (London School of Economics), neuro-philosopher Elie During (University of Paris, Ouest Nanterre), cognitive scientist David Jopling (York University, Canada), social psychologist Timothy Wilson (University of Virginia),and ethicist Frances Kamm (Harvard University) examine the difficulty of achieving genuine self-knowledge and how the pursuit of self-knowledge plays a role in shaping the self.
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  18. Alex Voorhoeve (2010). Erasmus. The Philosophers' Magazine (48):98-100.
    A short sketch of Erasmus' life and principal ideas.
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  19. Alex Voorhoeve (2010). Prioriteit voor patienten met een lagere levenskwaliteit. Filosofie En Praktijk 31:40-51.
  20. Alex Voorhoeve (2010). Review of Hugh LaFolette: The Practice of Ethics. [REVIEW] Social Choice and Welfare 34:497-501.
    A review of Hugh LaFolette's Practical Ethics.
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  21. Michael Otsuka & Alex Voorhoeve (2009). Why It Matters That Some Are Worse Off Than Others: An Argument Against the Priority View. Philosophy and Public Affairs 37 (2):171-199.
  22. Alex Voorhoeve (2009). Conversations on Ethics. Oxford University Press.
    Can we trust our intuitive judgments of right and wrong? Are moral judgements objective? What reason do we have to do what is right and avoid doing what is wrong? In Conversations on Ethics, Alex Voorhoeve elicits answers to these questions from eleven outstanding philosophers and social scientists: -/- Ken Binmore; Philippa Foot; Harry Frankfurt; Allan Gibbard; Daniel Kahneman; Frances Kamm; Alasdair MacIntyre; T. M. Scanlon; Peter Singer; David Velleman; Bernard Williams. -/- The exchanges are direct, open, and sharp, and (...)
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  23. Alex Voorhoeve (2009). Mill and Barry on the Foundations of Liberal Rights. The Philosophers' Magazine 46:78-82.
    In On Liberty, Mill famously propounded a view of the good life as the autonomous life. On this view, it is crucial that people develop and exercise, to a high degree, their ability to reason independently about what to believe and what to aim at in life. It is also important that they be able to freely hold and express their beliefs and effectively act on their aims. As Mill put it: The mental and the moral, like the muscular, powers (...)
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  24. Alex Voorhoeve (2009). The Limits of Autonomy. The Philosophers' Magazine 46 (46):78-82.
    Brian Barry believed liberals should not follow Mill in appealing to the value of autonomy in order to justify liberal rights. Barry believed the basic liberal aim was to find social and political institutions that could be justified to citizens who held differing views about the good life as a fair way of adjudicating between these citizens’ conflicting interests and conceptions of the good.
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  25. Alex Voorhoeve (2008). Heuristics and Biases in a Purported Counter-Example to the Acyclicity of 'Better Than'. Politics, Philosophy and Economics 7 (3):285-299.
    Stuart Rachels and Larry Temkin have offered a purported counter-example to the acyclicity of the relationship 'all things considered better than'. This example invokes our intuitive preferences over pairs of alternatives involving a single person's painful experiences of varying intensity and duration. These preferences, Rachels and Temkin claim, are confidently held, entirely reasonable, and cyclical. They conclude that we should drop acyclicity as a requirement of rationality. I argue that, together with the findings of recent research on the way people (...)
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  26. Alex Voorhoeve (2008). Scanlon on Substantive Responsibility. Journal of Political Philosophy 16 (2):184-200.
    I argue that Scanlon's Value of Choice View does not offer a plausible account of substantive responsibility. I offer a new account, which I call the Potential Value of Opportunities View. On this view, when a person is in a position to freely and capably make an informed choice, we assess her situation not by the outcome she achieves but by the potential value of her opportunities. This value depends on the value of the various things that she can achieve (...)
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  27. Julian Baggini, Alex Voorhoeve, Catherine Audard, Saladin Meckled-Garcia & Tony McWalter (2007). Security and the 'War on Terror': A Roundtable. In Julian Baggini & Jeremy Stangroom (eds.), What More Philosophers Think. Continuum.
    What is the appropriate legal response to terrorist threats? This question is discussed by politician Tony McWalter, The Philosophers' Magazine editor Julian Baggini, and philosophers Catherine Audard, Saladin Meckled-Garcia, and Alex Voorhoeve.
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  28. Alex Voorhoeve (2006). Is Poverty Our Problem? Introduction to the Forum on World Poverty and the Duty of Assistance. The Philosophers' Magazine 36:46-49.
    This paper provides an introductory discussion of questions about three moral duties in the context of global poverty: the duty to aid; the duty not to harm; and the duty to promote just global institutions.
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  29. Alex Voorhoeve (2006). In Search of the Deep Structure of Morality: An Interview with Frances Kamm. Imprints 9 (2):93-117.
    In The Gay Science, Friedrich Nietzsche argued that only a form of philosophising that sprung from a deep commitment to the subject could ever hope for success. ‘All great problems’, he wrote, ‘demand great love’. He continued: It makes the most telling difference whether a thinker has a personal relationship to his problems and finds in them his destiny, his distress and his greatest happiness, or an ‘impersonal’ one, meaning he is only able to touch them with the antennae of (...)
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  30. Alex Voorhoeve (2006). Preference Change and Interpersonal Comparisons of Welfare. Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 81 (59):265-.
    Suppose that we agree that for questions of justice in a pluralistic society, we need a public standard of welfare. An appropriate public standard of welfare will have to meet the following two requirements. First, its conception of each person’s welfare should, to the greatest reasonable extent, be something that each person can recognise as encompassing the things she wants for herself and as giving these things weights that reflect the relative importance she gives to them. Second, it should be (...)
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  31. Alex Voorhoeve, Should Losses Count? A Critique of the Complaint Model. Choice Group Working Papers.
    The Complaint Model is an interpretation of Scanlon’s contractualism which holds that (1) an individual can reasonably reject a distribution of well-being when her complaint against that distribution is larger than any other person’s complaint against any other distribution. The Complaint Model further holds that (2) the size of an individual’s complaint against a distribution is a function of (2a) her absolute level of well-being under that distribution, with the size of her complaint increasing as her absolute level of well-being (...)
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  32. Alex Voorhoeve & Ken Binmore (2006). Transitivity, the Sorites Paradox, and Similarity-Based Decision-Making. Erkenntnis 64 (1):101-114.
    A persistent argument against the transitivity assumption of rational choice theory postulates a repeatable action that generates a significant benefit at the expense of a negligible cost. No matter how many times the action has been taken, it therefore seems reasonable for a decision-maker to take the action one more time. However, matters are so fixed that the costs of taking the action some large number of times outweigh the benefits. In taking the action some large number of times on (...)
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  33. Alex Voorhoeve (2005). Equal Opportunity, Equality, and Responsibility. Dissertation, University of London
    This thesis argues that a particular version of equal opportunity for welfare is the best way of meeting the joint demands of three liberal egalitarian ideals: distributional equality, responsibility, and respect for individuals’ differing reasonable judgements of their own good. It also examines which social choice rules best represent these demands. Finally, it defends the view that achieving equal opportunity for welfare should not only be a goal of formal public institutions, but that just citizens should also sometimes be guided (...)
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  34. Alex Voorhoeve (2005). Incentives and Principles for Individuals in Rawls’ Theory of Justice. Ethics and Economics 3 (1):1-7.
    Philippe van Parijs (2003) has argued that an egalitarian ethos cannot be part of a post- Political Liberalism Rawlsian view of justice, because the demands of political justice are confined to principles for institutions of the basic structure alone. This paper argues, by contrast, that certain principles for individual conduct—including a principle requiring relatively advantaged individuals to sometimes make their economic choices with the aim of maximising the prospects of the least advantaged—are an integral part of a Rawlsian political conception (...)
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  35. Alex Voorhoeve (2005). Pursuing Equal Opportunities: The Theory and Practice of Egalitarian Justice, by Lesley A. Jacobs [Book Review]. [REVIEW] Economics and Philosophy 21 (1):155-161.
    Book review of Lesley A. Jacobs' Pursuing Equal Opportunities: The Theory and Practice of Egalitarian Justice.
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  36. Matthias Hild & Alex Voorhoeve (2004). Equality of Opportunity and Opportunity Dominance. Economics and Philosophy 20 (1):117-145.
    All conceptions of equal opportunity draw on some distinction between morally justified and unjustified inequalities. We discuss how this distinction varies across a range of philosophical positions. We find that these positions often advance equality of opportunity in tandem with distributive principles based on merit, desert, consequentialist criteria or individuals' responsibility for outcomes. The result of this amalgam of principles is a festering controversy that unnecessarily diminishes the widespread acceptability of opportunity concerns. We therefore propose to restore the conceptual separation (...)
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  37. Alex Voorhoeve (2004). A Mistrustful Animal: Bernard Williams Interviewed. The Harvard Review of Philosophy 12 (1):81-92.
    A discussion with Bernard Williams about main themes in his work. (Note: a version of this interview appears in 'Conversations on Ethics' (OUP, 2009).).
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  38. Alex Voorhoeve (2004). Erasmus. In Julian Baggini & Jeremy Stangroom (eds.), The Great Thinkers A-Z. Continuum. 98-100.
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  39. Alex Voorhoeve (2004). John Rawls. In Julian Baggini & Jeremy Stangroom (eds.), The Great Thinkers A-Z. Continuum.
    The political and philosophical problems John Rawls set out to solve arise out of the identity and conflicts of interests between citizens. There is identity of interests because social cooperation makes possible for everyone a life that is much better than one outside of society. There is a conflict of interests because people all prefer a larger to a smaller share of the benefits of social cooperation, and people have ideological differences. The problem a theory of justice has to solve (...)
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  40. Ken Binmore & Alex Voorhoeve (2003). Defending Transitivity Against Zeno’s Paradox. Philosophy and Public Affairs 31 (3):272–279.
    This article criticises one of Stuart Rachels' and Larry Temkin's arguments against the transitivity of 'better than'. This argument invokes our intuitions about our preferences of different bundles of pleasurable or painful experiences of varying intensity and duration, which, it is argued, will typically be intransitive. This article defends the transitivity of 'better than' by showing that Rachels and Temkin are mistaken to suppose that preferences satisfying their assumptions must be intransitive. It makes cler where the argument goes wrong by (...)
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  41. Alex Voorhoeve (2003). Harry Frankfurt on the Necessity of Love. Philosophical Writings 23:55-70.
    An conversation with Harry Frankfurt about his views on love, free will, and responsibility, as well as his general approach to philosophy.
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  42. Alex Voorhoeve (2003). The Grammar of Goodness: An Interview with Philippa Foot. Harvard Review of Philosophy:32-44.
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  43. Alex Voorhoeve (2003). The House That Jack Built. The Philosophers' Magazine 22 (22):28-31.
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  44. Alex Voorhoeve (2002). Bernard Mandeville. The Philosophers' Magazine 20:53.
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  45. Alex Voorhoeve (2002). The Good, the Right, and the Seemly. Ken Binmore Interviewed. The Philosophers' Magazine 21:48-51.
  46. Thomas Scanlon & Alex Voorhoeve (2001). Kant on the Cheap. The Philosophers' Magazine 16:29-30.
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  47. Alex Voorhoeve (2001). Review of Alex Rosenberg's Philosophy of Science: A Contemporary Introduction. Routledge, London, 2000. Pp. 191. For Philosophy Today, 2001. [REVIEW] Philosophy Today 14:8-9.
    Philosophy of Science is a mid-level text for students with some grounding in philosophy. It introduces the questions that drive enquiry in the philosophy of science, and aims to educate readers in the main positions, problems and arguments in the field today. Alex Rosenberg is certainly well qualified to write such an introduction. His works cover a large area of the philosophy of natural and social sciences. In addition, the author of the argument that the ‘queen of the social sciences’, (...)
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