Rank-weighted utilitarianism and the veil of ignorance

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations

Abstract

Lara Buchak argues for a version of rank-weighted utilitarianism that assigns greater weight to the interests of the worse off. She argues that our distributive principles should be derived from the preferences of rational individuals behind a veil of ignorance, who ought to be risk-averse. I argue that Buchak’s appeal to the veil of ignorance leads to a particular way of extending rank-weighted utilitarianism to the evaluation of uncertain prospects. This method recommends choices that violate the unanimous preferences of rational individuals and choices that guarantee worse distributions. These results, I suggest, undermine Buchak’s argument for rank-weighted utilitarianism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)87-106
Number of pages20
JournalEthics
Volume131
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2020
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Philosophy

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Rank-weighted utilitarianism and the veil of ignorance'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this