Measurement theory and the foundations of utilitarianism
This article reconsiders the Harsanyi--Sen debate concerning whether Harsanyi is justified in interpreting his Aggregation and Impartial Observer Theorems as providing axiomatizations of utilitarianism. Sen's criticism and its formalization by Weymark are based on the claim that von Neumann--Morgenstern utility theory is ordinal, whereas Harsanyi's utilitarian conclusions require cardinal utility. Proposals for overcoming Sen's objection that appeal to formal measurement theory are considered. It is argued that one of these proposals due to Broome and Risse rightly points to a feature of expected utility theory that was ignored by Sen and Weymark, but that this proposal does not provide a normatively compelling justification for cardinal utility. The other proposal due to Broome is shown to make use of a strength of preference relation in addition to the axioms of expected utility theory.
(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)
Volume (Year): 25 (2005)
Issue (Month): 2 (December)
|Contact details of provider:|| Web page: http://link.springer.de/link/service/journals/00355/index.htm|
|Order Information:||Web: http://link.springer.de/orders.htm|
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- P. Mongin & C. d'Aspremont, 1996.
"Utility theory and ethics,"
THEMA Working Papers
96-32, THEMA (THéorie Economique, Modélisation et Applications), Université de Cergy-Pontoise.
- MONGIN, Philippe & d'ASPREMONT, Claude, . "Utility theory and ethics," CORE Discussion Papers RP -1423, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
- MONGIN, Philippe & d ASPREMONT, Claude, 1996. "Utility theory and ethics," CORE Discussion Papers 1996063, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
- Mongin, P & d'Aspremont, C, 1996. "Utility Theory and Ethics," Papers 9632, Paris X - Nanterre, U.F.R. de Sc. Ec. Gest. Maths Infor..
- John C. Harsanyi, 1955. "Cardinal Welfare, Individualistic Ethics, and Interpersonal Comparisons of Utility," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 63, pages 309.
- Mandler, Michael, 2001.
"Dilemmas in Economic Theory: Persisting Foundational Problems of Microeconomics,"
Oxford University Press, number 9780195145755, March.
- Mandler, Michael, 1999. "Dilemmas in Economic Theory: Persisting Foundational Problems in Microeconomics," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195100877, March.
- Fishburn, Peter C, 1989. " Retrospective on the Utility Theory of von Neumann and Morgenstern," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 2(2), pages 127-57, June.
- Milton Friedman & L. J. Savage, 1952. "The Expected-Utility Hypothesis and the Measurability of Utility," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 60, pages 463.
- John C. Harsanyi, 1953. "Cardinal Utility in Welfare Economics and in the Theory of Risk-taking," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 61, pages 434.
- Blackorby, Charles & Donaldson, David & Weymark, John A., 1999. "Harsanyi's social aggregation theorem for state-contingent alternatives1," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 365-387, November.
- Milton Friedman & L. J. Savage, 1948. "The Utility Analysis of Choices Involving Risk," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 56, pages 279.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:spr:sochwe:v:25:y:2005:i:2:p:527-555. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Guenther Eichhorn)or (Christopher F Baum)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.