Extended Preferences and Interpersonal Comparisons of Well‐being


Authors
Harvey Lederman
Princeton University
Abstract
An important objection to preference-satisfaction theories of well-being is that these theories cannot make sense of interpersonal comparisons of well-being. A tradition dating back to Harsanyi () attempts to respond to this objection by appeal to so-called extended preferences: very roughly, preferences over situations whose description includes agents’ preferences. This paper examines the prospects for defending the preference-satisfaction theory via this extended preferences program. We argue that making conceptual sense of extended preferences is less problematic than others have supposed, but that even so extended preferences do not provide a promising way for the preference satisfaction theorist to make interpersonal well-being comparisons. Our main objection takes the form of a trilemma: depending on how the theory based on extended preferences is developed, either the result will be inconsistent with ordinary preference-satisfaction theory, or it will fail to recover sufficiently rich interpersonal well-being comparisons, or it will take on a number of other arguably odd and undesirable commitments.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Reprint years 2016, 2018
DOI 10.1111/phpr.12334
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 40,785
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Attitudes de Dicto and de Se.David Lewis - 1979 - Philosophical Review 88 (4):513-543.
Counterexamples to the Transitivity of Better Than.Stuart Rachels - 1998 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 76 (1):71 – 83.
Intransitivity and the Mere Addition Paradox.Larry S. Temkin - 1987 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 16 (2):138-187.

View all 24 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Interpersonal Comparisons with Preferences and Desires.Jacob Barrett - forthcoming - Politics, Philosophy and Economics.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Aggregating Extended Preferences.Hilary Greaves & Harvey Lederman - 2017 - Philosophical Studies 174 (5):1163-1190.
Interpersonal Utility and Pragmatic Virtues.Mauro Rossi - 2008 - Proceedings of the Xxii World Congress of Philosophy 22:107-115.
Foundations of Utilitarianism.Robert W. Bright - 1991 - Dissertation, Dalhousie University (Canada)
Preferences’ Significance Does Not Depend on Their Content.Evan G. Williams - 2014 - New Content is Available for Journal of Moral Philosophy 13 (2):211-234.
In Defense of Adaptive Preferences.Donald W. Bruckner - 2009 - Philosophical Studies 142 (3):307 - 324.
Transcendental Arguments and Interpersonal Utility Comparisons.Mauro Rossi - 2011 - Economics and Philosophy 27 (3):273-295.
Are All Preferences Nosy?Keith Graham - 2000 - Res Publica 6 (2):133-154.
Preference Change and Interpersonal Comparisons of Welfare.Alex Voorhoeve - 2006 - In Serena Olsaretti (ed.), Preferences and Well-Being. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 265-79.
Social Choice and Just Institutions: New Perspectives.Marc Fleurbaey - 2007 - Economics and Philosophy 23 (1):15-43.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2016-11-07

Total views
30 ( #271,492 of 2,243,845 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
4 ( #497,583 of 2,243,845 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature