Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Well-Being and Fair DistributionBeyond Cost-Benefit Analysis$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Matthew Adler

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780195384994

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195384994.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 14 July 2020

Well-Being and Interpersonal Comparisons

Well-Being and Interpersonal Comparisons

(p.154) (p.155) 3 Well-Being and Interpersonal Comparisons
Well-Being and Fair Distribution

Matthew D. Adler

Oxford University Press

Drawing from the philosophical literature, this chapter offers an analysis of well-being in terms of fully informed, fully rational, extended preferences. This account is preferentialist, but it does not tie well-being to preferences in a crude or simplistic way. Instead, it is designed to be sensitive to important platitudes about well-being—that well-being has critical force, and that it cannot be too “remote” from the subject—which have been part of the motivation for philosophical views that draw a nexus between well-being and mental states or objective goods, rather than reducing an individual's well-being to the satisfaction of her actual preferences. The chapter begins by surveying the philosophical literature on well-being. It then discusses the problem of interpersonal comparisons. Having reviewed both the philosophical literature and the question of interpersonal comparisons, an account of well-being is presented: one that derives interpersonal level and difference comparisons as well as ratio information from a set U of utility functions that represent the fully informed, fully rational, extended preferences of the various individuals in the population regarding life-histories, lotteries over life-histories, and comparisons to nonexistence.

Keywords:   well-being, preferences, interpersonal comparison, philosophical literature, utility functions

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .