Journal of Philosophy 114 (6):303-323 (2017)

Anna Mahtani
London School of Economics
The concept of ‘pareto superiority’ plays a central role in ethics, economics, and law. Pareto superiority is sometimes taken as a relation between outcomes, and sometimes as a relation between actions—even where the outcomes of the actions are uncertain. Whether one action is classed as pareto superior to another depends on the prospects under the actions for each person concerned. I argue that a person’s prospects can depend on how that person is designated. Without any constraints on acceptable designators, then, the concept of pareto superiority is ill defined and gives inconsistent results. I consider various ways of completing the definition and draw out some surprising implications.
Keywords Analytic Philosophy  Contemporary Philosophy  ex ante  pareto  frege  intensionality
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Reprint years 2017
ISBN(s) 0022-362X
DOI 10.5840/jphil2017114622
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Obligations to Merely Statistical People.Caspar Hare - 2012 - Journal of Philosophy 109 (5-6):378-390.

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Contractualism, Complaints, and Risk.Bastian Steuwer - 2021 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 19 (2).
One-by-One: Moral Theory for Separate Persons.Bastian Steuwer - 2020 - Dissertation, London School of Economics
Frege’s Puzzle and the Ex Ante Pareto Principle.Anna Mahtani - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178 (6):2077-2100.

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