Synthese:1-17 (forthcoming)

Rush T. Stewart
Ludwig Maximilians Universität, München
Epistemic states of uncertainty play important roles in ethical and political theorizing. Theories that appeal to a “veil of ignorance,” for example, analyze fairness or impartiality in terms of certain states of ignorance. It is important, then, to scrutinize proposed conceptions of ignorance and explore promising alternatives in such contexts. Here, I study Lerner’s probabilistic egalitarian theorem in the setting of imprecise probabilities. Lerner’s theorem assumes that a social planner tasked with distributing income to individuals in a population is “completely ignorant” about which utility functions belong to which individuals. Lerner models this ignorance with a certain uniform probability distribution, and shows that, under certain further assumptions, income should be equally distributed. Much of the criticism of the relevance of Lerner’s result centers on the representation of ignorance involved. Imprecise probabilities provide a general framework for reasoning about various forms of uncertainty including, in particular, ignorance. To what extent can Lerner’s conclusion be maintained in this setting?
Keywords Distributive justice  egalitarianism  imprecise probabilities  Lerner's theorem  uncertainty  utilitarianism  veil of ignorance
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s11229-021-03217-1
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

Imprecise Probabilities.Seamus Bradley - 2019 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
On Indeterminate Probabilities.Isaac Levi - 1974 - Journal of Philosophy 71 (13):391-418.
Decision Theory as Philosophy.Mark Kaplan - 1996 - Cambridge University Press.

View all 24 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

The Veil of Ignorance and Health Resource Allocation.Carlos Soto - 2012 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 37 (4):387-404.
Optimal Inequality Behind the Veil of Ignorance.Che-Yuan Liang - 2017 - Theory and Decision 83 (3):431-455.
Ignorance: How It Drives Science.Stuart Firestein - 2012 - Oxford University Press.
Egalitarianism Under Severe Uncertainty.Thomas Rowe & Alex Voorhoeve - 2018 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 46 (3):239-268.


Added to PP index

Total views
78 ( #139,486 of 2,455,620 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
38 ( #21,082 of 2,455,620 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes