Statistical Normalization Methods in Interpersonal and Intertheoretic Comparisons

Journal of Philosophy 117 (2):61-95 (2020)
  Copy   BIBTEX


A major problem for interpersonal aggregation is how to compare utility across individuals; a major problem for decision-making under normative uncertainty is the formally analogous problem of how to compare choice-worthiness across theories. We introduce and study a class of methods, which we call statistical normalization methods, for making interpersonal comparisons of utility and intertheoretic comparisons of choice-worthiness. We argue against the statistical normalization methods that have been proposed in the literature. We argue, instead, in favor of normalization of variance: we claim that this is the account that most plausibly gives all individuals or theories ‘equal say’. To this end, we provide two proofs that variance normalization has desirable properties that all other normalization methods lack, though we also show how different assumptions could lead one to axiomatize alternative statistical normalization methods.



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 92,323

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

A Formalization Of Sambins's Normalization For Gl.Edward Hauesler & Luiz Carlos Pereira - 1993 - Mathematical Logic Quarterly 39 (1):133-142.
Interpersonal Utility and Pragmatic Virtues.Mauro Rossi - 2008 - Proceedings of the Xxii World Congress of Philosophy 22:107-115.
In Defence of My Favourite Theory.Johan E. Gustafsson & Olle Torpman - 2014 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 95 (2):159-174.
Making Interpersonal Comparisons Coherently.Martin Barrett & Daniel Hausman - 1990 - Economics and Philosophy 6 (2):293.
Intertheoretic Value Comparison: A Modest Proposal.Christian Tarsney - 2018 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 15 (3):324-344.


Added to PP

130 (#141,726)

6 months
19 (#138,588)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author Profiles

William MacAskill
Oxford University
Toby Ord
University of Oxford

Citations of this work

A Bargaining-Theoretic Approach to Moral Uncertainty.Hilary Greaves & Owen Cotton-Barratt - 2023 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 21 (1-2):127-169.
Second Thoughts about My Favourite Theory.Johan E. Gustafsson - 2022 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 103 (3):448-470.
Even More Supererogatory.Holly M. Smith - 2024 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 102 (1):1-20.
Expected choiceworthiness and fanaticism.Calvin Baker - 2024 - Philosophical Studies 181 (5).

View all 9 citations / Add more citations

References found in this work

No references found.

Add more references