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In Defence of the Priority View

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  • PORTER, THOMAS

Abstract

In their paper ‘Why It Matters That Some Are Worse Off Than Others: An Argument against the Priority View’, Michael Otsuka and Alex Voorhoeve argue that prioritarianism is mistaken. I argue that their case against prioritarianism has much weaker foundations than it might at first seem. Their key argument is based on the claim that prioritarianism ignores the fact of the ‘separateness of persons’. However, prioritarianism, far from ignoring that fact, is a plausible response to it. It may be that prioritarianism disregards the fact of the ‘unity of the individual’. But even if this is true, that doesn't straightforwardly tell against prioritarianism as a view about distributive justice. In the end, Otsuka and Voorhoeve's argument relies on a non-decisive intuition that they appeal to early in their paper. Their conclusion, as a result, is not compelling.

Suggested Citation

  • Porter, Thomas, 2012. "In Defence of the Priority View," Utilitas, Cambridge University Press, vol. 24(03), pages 349-364, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:utilit:v:24:y:2012:i:03:p:349-364_00
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    1. repec:eee:matsoc:v:87:y:2017:i:c:p:94-102 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Matthew Adler & David Anthoff & Valentina Bosetti & Greg Garner & Klaus Keller & Nicolas Treich, 2016. "Priority for the Worse Off and the Social Cost of Carbon," CESifo Working Paper Series 6032, CESifo Group Munich.

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