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Prioritarianism and the measure of utility

Otsuka, Michael (2015) Prioritarianism and the measure of utility. Journal of Political Philosophy, 23 (1). pp. 1-22. ISSN 0963-8016

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Identification Number: 10.1111/jopp.12023


HERE I present a challenge to prioritarianism, which is, in Derek Parfit’s words, the view that ‘we have stronger reasons to benefit people the worse off these people are’. We have such reasons, according to this view, simply by virtue of the fact that a person’s ‘utility has diminishing marginal moral importance’ —i.e., that equal improvements in a person’s well-being matter less, morally speaking, the better off she is in absolute terms. It follows, from this view, that one might have stronger reason to benefit someone who is less well off rather than someone who is better off, even when this benefit would amount to a lesser increase in utility than a benefit to the better off person.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Divisions: Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
J Political Science > JC Political theory
Date Deposited: 06 Nov 2013 17:03
Last Modified: 11 Jun 2024 23:11

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