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From moral welfarism to technical non-welfarism : A step back to Bentham’s felicific calculus of its members

Author

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  • A. Baujard

    (CREM - CNRS)

Abstract

A focus on the information used in Bentham’s felicific calculus sheds new light on the contemporary debate in normative economics opposing non-welfarism to welfarism. As a utilitarian, Bentham is de facto welfarist on a moral sense. Unexpectedly, this study shows Bentham resorts to non-welfarist information in his calculus. Thus, technical non-welfarism is coherent with moral welfarism, and even, the former proves necessary not to betray utilitarian principles. To sustain this claim, we challenge a view opposing a “cardinal” to an “ordinal” calculus: these two calculi constitute different stages of a unique calculus; because of operational constraints, Bentham is bound to rely on proxies, hence on non-utility information.

Suggested Citation

  • A. Baujard, 2006. "From moral welfarism to technical non-welfarism : A step back to Bentham’s felicific calculus of its members," Economics Working Paper Archive (University of Rennes 1 & University of Caen) 200606, Center for Research in Economics and Management (CREM), University of Rennes 1, University of Caen and CNRS.
  • Handle: RePEc:tut:cremwp:200606
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    File URL: https://crem-doc.univ-rennes1.fr/wp/2006/ie-200606.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Andr Lapidus & Nathalie Sigot, 2000. "Individual utility in a context of asymmetric sensitivity to pleasure and pain: an interpretation of Bentham's felicific calculus," The European Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 7(1), pages 45-78.
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    Cited by:

    1. Antoinette Baujard, 2006. "L'estimation des préférences individuelles en vue de la décision publique.. Problèmes, paradoxes, enjeux," Economie & Prévision, La Documentation Française, vol. 0(4), pages 51-63.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Bentham; individual utility; utility calculus; utilitarianism; welfarism; non-welfarism; social welfare; technical welfarism; moral welfarism.;

    JEL classification:

    • B12 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought through 1925 - - - Classical (includes Adam Smith)
    • B31 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought: Individuals - - - Individuals
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement

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