Authors
Jake Nebel
University of Southern California
Abstract
This paper develops and explores a new framework for theorizing about the measurement and aggregation of well-being. It is a qualitative variation on the framework of social welfare functionals developed by Amartya Sen. In Sen’s framework, a social or overall betterness ordering is assigned to each profile of real-valued utility functions. In the qualitative framework developed here, numerical utilities are replaced by the properties they are supposed to represent. This makes it possible to characterize the measurability and interpersonal comparability of well-being directly, without the use of invariance conditions, and to distinguish between real changes in well-being and merely representational changes in the unit of measurement. The qualitative framework is shown to have important implications for a range of issues in axiology and social choice theory, including the characterization of welfarism, axiomatic derivations of utilitarianism, the meaningfulness of prioritarianism, the informational requirements of variable-population ethics, the impossibility theorems of Arrow and others, and the metaphysics of value.
Keywords social welfare functionals  utility functions  invariance conditions  absolutism vs. comparativism  measurement theory  Arrow's theorem  welfarism
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

 PhilArchive page | Other versions
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Reasons and Persons.Derek Parfit - 1984 - Oxford University Press.
The Tools of Metaphysics and the Metaphysics of Science.Theodore Sider - 2020 - Oxford, England and New York, NY, USA: Oxford University Press.
Theory of Games and Economic Behavior.John Von Neumann & Oskar Morgenstern - 1944 - Princeton, NJ, USA: Princeton University Press.
Weighing Lives.John Broome - 2004 - Oxford University Press.

View all 44 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Machian Comparativism About Mass.Niels C. M. Martens - 2022 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 73 (2):325-349.
Invariant Multiattribute Utility Functions.Ali E. Abbas - 2010 - Theory and Decision 68 (1-2):69-99.
Utils and Shmutils.Jacob M. Nebel - 2021 - Ethics 131 (3):571-599.
‘Ramseyfying’ Probabilistic Comparativism.Edward Elliott - 2020 - Philosophy of Science 87 (4):727-754.
Some Subrecursive Versions of Grzegorczyk's Uniformity Theorem.Dimiter Skordev - 2004 - Mathematical Logic Quarterly 50 (45):520-524.
Social Norms or Social Preferences?Ken Binmore - 2010 - Mind and Society 9 (2):139-157.
Utility Theory and Ethics.Mongin Philippe & D'Aspremont Claude - 1998 - In Salvador Barbera, Paul Hammond & Christian Seidl (eds.), Handbook of Utility Theory Volume1: Principles. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers. pp. 371-481.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2021-08-28

Total views
835 ( #8,088 of 2,498,254 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
541 ( #703 of 2,498,254 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes