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On Kolm's Use of Epistemic Counterfactuals in Social Choice Theory

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  • John A. Weymark

    (Department of Economics, Vanderbilt University)

Abstract

Serge Kolm's "epistemic counterfactual principle" says that a social choice only needs to be made from the actual feasible set of alternatives given the actual preference profile, but it must be justified by the choices that would have been made in appropriate counterfactual choice situations. Kolm's principle does not identify the relevant counterfactuals. In this article, it is argued that the appropriate counterfactuals to justify an impartial social choice are all of the choice situations that a moral agent behind a veil of ignorance might think is the actual choice situation outside the veil.

Suggested Citation

  • John A. Weymark, 2005. "On Kolm's Use of Epistemic Counterfactuals in Social Choice Theory," Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers 0518, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:van:wpaper:0518
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Arrovian social choice; counterfactual choice; veil of ignorance; impartial observer; universal prescriptivism;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • B40 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology - - - General
    • D71 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Social Choice; Clubs; Committees; Associations

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