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  1. A Defense of Pluralist Egalitarianism Under Severe Uncertainty: Axiomatic Characterization☆.Akira Inoue & Kaname Miyagishima - forthcoming - Journal of Political Philosophy.
    Journal of Political Philosophy, EarlyView.
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  • Population Ethics Under Risk.Gustaf Arrhenius & H. Orri Stefansson - manuscript
    Population axiology concerns how to evaluate populations in terms of their moral goodness, that is, how to order populations by the relations “is better than” and “is as good as”. The task has been to find an adequate theory about the moral value of states of affairs where the number of people, the quality of their lives, and their identities may vary. So far, this field has largely ignored issues about uncertainty and the conditions that have been discussed mostly pertain (...)
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  • Ex-Ante Prioritarianism Violates Sequential Ex-Ante Pareto.Johan E. Gustafsson - forthcoming - Utilitas.
    Prioritarianism is a variant of utilitarianism. It differs from utilitarianism in that benefiting individuals matters more the worse off these individuals are. On this view, there are two standard ways of handling risky prospects: Ex-Post Prioritarianism adjusts for prioritizing the worse off in final outcomes and then values prospects by the expectation of the sum total of those adjusted values, whereas Ex-Ante Prioritarianism adjusts for prioritizing the worse off on each individual’s expectation and then values prospects by the sum total (...)
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  • Population Axiology.Hilary Greaves - 2017 - Philosophy Compass 12 (11):e12442.
    Population axiology is the study of the conditions under which one state of affairs is better than another, when the states of affairs in ques- tion may differ over the numbers and the identities of the persons who ever live. Extant theories include totalism, averagism, variable value theories, critical level theories, and “person-affecting” theories. Each of these the- ories is open to objections that are at least prima facie serious. A series of impossibility theorems shows that this is no coincidence: (...)
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  • Utilitarianism with and Without Expected Utility.David McCarthy, Kalle Mikkola & Joaquin Teruji Thomas - 2020 - Journal of Mathematical Economics 87:77-113.
    We give two social aggregation theorems under conditions of risk, one for constant population cases, the other an extension to variable populations. Intra and interpersonal welfare comparisons are encoded in a single ‘individual preorder’. The theorems give axioms that uniquely determine a social preorder in terms of this individual preorder. The social preorders described by these theorems have features that may be considered characteristic of Harsanyi-style utilitarianism, such as indifference to ex ante and ex post equality. However, the theorems are (...)
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  • Frege’s Puzzle and the Ex Ante Pareto Principle.Anna Mahtani - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178 (6):2077-2100.
    The ex ante Pareto principle has an intuitive pull, and it has been a principle of central importance since Harsanyi’s defence of utilitarianism. The principle has been used to criticize and refine a range of positions in welfare economics, including egalitarianism and prioritarianism. But this principle faces a serious problem. I have argued elsewhere :303-323 2017) that the concept of ex ante Pareto superiority is not well defined, because its application in a choice situation concerning a fixed population can depend (...)
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  • Topics in Population Ethics.Teruji Thomas - 2016 - Dissertation, University of Oxford
    This thesis consists of several independent papers in population ethics. I begin in Chapter 1 by critiquing some well-known 'impossibility theorems', which purport to show there can be no intuitively satisfactory population axiology. I identify axiological vagueness as a promising way to escape or at least mitigate the effects of these theorems. In particular, in Chapter 2, I argue that certain of the impossibility theorems have little more dialectical force than sorites arguments do. From these negative arguments I move to (...)
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  • An Intrapersonal Addition Paradox.Jacob M. Nebel - 2019 - Ethics 129 (2):309-343.
    I present a new argument for the repugnant conclusion. The core of the argument is a risky, intrapersonal analogue of the mere addition paradox. The argument is important for three reasons. First, some solutions to Parfit’s original puzzle do not obviously generalize to the intrapersonal puzzle in a plausible way. Second, it raises independently important questions about how to make decisions under uncertainty for the sake of people whose existence might depend on what we do. And, third, it suggests various (...)
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  • Decide As You Would With Full Information! An Argument Against Ex Ante Pareto.Marc Fleurbaey & Alex Voorhoeve - 2013 - In Ole Norheim, Samia Hurst, Nir Eyal & Dan Wikler (eds.), Inequalities in Health: Concepts, Measures, and Ethics. Oxford University Press.
    Policy-makers must sometimes choose between an alternative which has somewhat lower expected value for each person, but which will substantially improve the outcomes of the worst off, or an alternative which has somewhat higher expected value for each person, but which will leave those who end up worst off substantially less well off. The popular ex ante Pareto principle requires the choice of the alternative with higher expected utility for each. We argue that ex ante Pareto ought to be rejected (...)
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  • Decision Under Normative Uncertainty.Franz Dietrich & Brian Jabarian - forthcoming - Economics and Philosophy.
    While ordinary decision theory focuses on empirical uncertainty, real decision-makers also face normative uncertainty: uncertainty about value itself. From a purely formal perspective, normative uncertainty is comparable to (Harsanyian or Rawlsian) identity uncertainty in the 'original position', where one's future values are unknown. A comprehensive decision theory must address twofold uncertainty -- normative and empirical. We present a simple model of twofold uncertainty, and show that the most popular decision principle -- maximising expected value (`Expectationalism') -- has different formulations, namely (...)
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  • Ethics and Uncertainty: The Guest Editor’s Introduction.Tomasz Żuradzki - 2017 - Diametros 53:1-5.
    Until very recently, normative theorizing in ethics was frequently conducted without even mentioning uncertainty. Just a few years ago, Sven Ove Hansson described this state of affairs with the slogan: “Ethics still lives in a Newtonian world.” In the new Oxford Handbook of Philosophy and Probability, David McCarthy writes that “mainstream moral philosophy has not been much concerned with probability,” understanding probability as “the best-known tool for thinking about uncertainty.” This special predilection for certainty in ethics was surprising since most (...)
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  • Equality for Prospective People: A Novel Statement and Defence.Alex Voorhoeve - 2021 - Utilitas 33 (3):304-320.
    A possible person’s conditional expected well-being is what the quality of their prospects would be if they were to come into existence. This paper examines the role that this form of expected well-being should play in distributing benefits among prospective people and in deciding who to bring into existence. It argues for a novel egalitarian view on which it is important to ensure equality in people’s life prospects, not merely between actual individuals, but also between all individuals who, given our (...)
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  • How to Allocate Scarce Health Resources Without Discriminating Against People with Disabilities.Tyler M. John, Joseph Millum & David Wasserman - 2017 - Economics and Philosophy 33 (2):161-186.
    One widely used method for allocating health care resources involves the use of cost-effectiveness analysis (CEA) to rank treatments in terms of quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs) gained. CEA has been criticized for discriminating against people with disabilities by valuing their lives less than those of non-disabled people. Avoiding discrimination seems to lead to the ’QALY trap’: we cannot value saving lives equally and still value raising quality of life. This paper reviews existing responses to the QALY trap and argues that all (...)
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  • Why the Repugnant Conclusion is Inescapable.Mark Budolfson & Dean Spears - unknown
    The spectre of the repugnant conclusion and the search for a population axiology that avoids it has endured as a focus of population ethics. This is in part because the repugnant conclusion is often interpreted as a defining problem for totalism, while the implications of averagism and related views are taken to illustrate the theoretical cost of avoiding the repugnant conclusion. However, we show that this interpretation cannot be sustained unless one focuses only on a special case of the repugnant (...)
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  • Priority, Not Equality, for Possible People.Jacob M. Nebel - 2017 - Ethics 127 (4):896-911.
    How should we choose between uncertain prospects in which different possible people might exist at different levels of wellbeing? Alex Voorhoeve and Marc Fleurbaey offer an egalitarian answer to this question. I give some reasons to reject their answer and then sketch an alternative, which I call person-affecting prioritarianism.
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  • Risk and the Unfairness of Some Being Better Off at the Expense of Others.Thomas Rowe - 2019 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 16 (1).
    This paper offers a novel account of how complaints of unfairness arise in risky distributive cases. According to a recently proposed view in distributive ethics, the Competing Claims View, an individual has a claim to a benefit when her well-being is at stake, and the strength of this claim is determined by the expected gain to the individual’s well-being, along with how worse off the individual is compared to others. If an individual is at a lower level of well-being than (...)
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  • Why Health-Related Inequalities Matter and Which Ones Do.Alex Voorhoeve - 2019 - In Ole Frithjof Norheim, Ezekiel Emmanuel & Joseph Millum (eds.), Global Health Priority-Setting: Beyond Cost-Effectiveness. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 145-62.
    I outline and defend two egalitarian theories, which yield distinctive and, I argue, complementary answers to why health-related inequalities matter: a brute luck egalitarian view, according to which inequalities due to unchosen, differential luck are bad because unfair, and a social egalitarian view, according to which inequalities are bad when and because they undermine people’s status as equal citizens. These views identify different objects of egalitarian concern: the brute luck egalitarian view directs attention to health-related well-being, while social egalitarianism focuses (...)
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  • The Ethics of Making Risky Decisions for Others.Luc Bovens - 2019 - In Mark D. White (ed.), Oxford Handbook of Ethics and Economics. Oxford University Press. pp. 446-473.
    Utilitarianism, it has been said, is not sensitive to the distribution of welfare. In making risky decisions for others there are multiple sensitivities at work. I present examples of risky decision-making involving drug allocations, charitable giving, breast-cancer screening and C-sections. In each of these examples there is a different sensitivity at work that pulls away from the utilitarian prescription. Instances of saving fewer people at a greater risk to many is more complex because there are two distributional sensitivities at work (...)
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  • May a Government Mandate More Comprehensive Health Insurance Than Citizens Want for Themselves?Alex Voorhoeve - 2018 - In David Sobel, Peter Vallentyne & Steven Wall (eds.), Oxford Studies in Political Philosophy, Vol 4. Oxford University Press. pp. 167-191.
    I critically examine a common liberal egalitarian view about the justification for, and proper content of, mandatory health insurance. This view holds that a mandate is justified because it is the best way to ensure that those in poor health gain health insurance on equitable terms. It also holds that a government should mandate what a representative prudent individual would purchase for themselves if they were placed in fair conditions of choice. I argue that this common justification for a mandate (...)
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  • Security, Planning and Justice: A Reply to Mintz-Woo.Jonathan Herington - 2018 - Ethics, Policy and Environment 21 (3):387-390.
    In a recent paper, I argued that the mere risk of climate-related harm was itself a harm, since it undermined the security of individuals subject to that risk. In his commentary, Mintz-Woo argues that my account of the value of security is mistaken. On his view, the value of belief-relative security is already well captured by standard theories of wellbeing, and the value of fact-relative security is illusory. In the following, I attempt to respond to his concerns. First, I argue (...)
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