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The ex ante pareto principle

Mahtani, Anna (2017) The ex ante pareto principle. The Journal of Philosophy, 114 (6). pp. 303-323. ISSN 0022-362X

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Identification Number: 10.5840/jphil2017114622

Abstract

The concept of ‘pareto superiority’ plays a central role in ethics, economics, and law. Pareto superiority is sometimes taken as a relation between outcomes, and sometimes as a relation between actions—even where the outcomes of the actions are uncertain. Whether one action is classed as (ex ante) pareto superior to another depends on the prospects under the actions for each person concerned. I argue that a person’s prospects (in this context) can depend on how that person is designated. Without any constraints on acceptable designators, then, the concept of pareto superiority is ill defined and gives inconsistent results. I consider various ways of completing the definition and draw out some surprising implications.

Item Type: Article
Official URL: https://www.pdcnet.org/jphil
Additional Information: © 2017 The Journal of Philosophy, Inc.
Divisions: Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
Sets: Departments > Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method
Date Deposited: 31 Jan 2017 15:29
Last Modified: 19 Nov 2019 12:53
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/69160

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