Interpersonal Utility Comparisons

Grazer Philosophische Studien 16:283-312 (1982)
Lars Bergström
Stockholm University
Utilitarianism, as well as many other political and moral doctrines, presupposes that the problem of interpersonal utility comparisons can be solved. Otto Neurath gave a comparatively early (1912) and explicit statement of this problem, and he suggested that it cannot be solved. This may still be the dominant view. It is argued that recent attempts to solve the problem (by e.g. Schick, Rescher, Harsanyi, Brandt, Jeffrey, Arrow, and Hare) are unsatisfactory, but that the oldest suggestion - i.e. the method of minimal units or just-noticeable differences - is acceptable from the point of view of utilitarianism
Keywords Analytic Philosophy
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DOI 10.5840/gps198216/1751
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