(Draft) In defence of welfare subjectivism


Subjectivists about welfare face two problems that pull them in opposite directions. The Paradox Problem, outlined by Ben Bradley, is that, for an agent who desires that her life go badly, subjectivist theories are sometimes unable to give a determinate answer about how well her life goes. This problem demands that subjectivists choose a complex mental attitude to ground well-being. The Infant Problem, from Eden Lin, is that many subjective theories end up denying that infants (and some others) have welfare. This problem demands that subjectivists choose a simple attitude to ground well-being. I argue that subjectivists should respond by adopting Disjunctive Subjectivism. Your welfare depends on your judgements that things are intrinsically good or bad for you (c.f. Dorsey), unless you are not capable of such judgements. In that case, it depends on your desires. I then defend DS against objections from Lin, and the potential charge of being ad hoc.



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Ben Davies
University of Sheffield

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