An impossibility theorem for welfarist axiologies

Economics and Philosophy 16 (2):247-266 (2000)
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Abstract

A search is under way for a theory that can accommodate our intuitions in population axiology. The object of this search has proved elusive. This is not surprising since, as we shall see, any welfarist axiology that satisfies three reasonable conditions implies at least one of three counter-intuitive conclusions. I shall start by pointing out the failures in three recent attempts to construct an acceptable population axiology. I shall then present an impossibility theorem and conclude with a short discussion of how it might be extended to pluralist axiologies, that is, axiologies that take more values than welfare into account.

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Gustaf Arrhenius
Stockholm University

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