Ethics 131 (1):87-106 (2020)

Authors
Jake Nebel
University of Southern California
Abstract
Lara Buchak argues for a version of rank-weighted utilitarianism that assigns greater weight to the interests of the worse off. She argues that our distributive principles should be derived from the preferences of rational individuals behind a veil of ignorance, who ought to be risk averse. I argue that Buchak’s appeal to the veil of ignorance leads to a particular way of extending rank-weighted utilitarianism to the evaluation of uncertain prospects. This method recommends choices that violate the unanimous preferences of rational individuals and choices that guarantee worse distributions. These results, I suggest, undermine Buchak’s argument for rank-weighted utilitarianism.
Keywords veil of ignorance  rank-weighted utilitarianism  egalitarianism  prioritarianism  risk aversion  risk-weighted expected utility  separability
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DOI 10.1086/709140
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