Interpersonal Comparison

R. M. Hare

in Moral Thinking

Published in print December 1981 | ISBN: 9780198246602
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191597596 | DOI:
 Interpersonal Comparison

Show Summary Details


Provides a defence against the objection to utilitarianism that it requires individuals to make comparisons between utilities to different people. It is argued that an adequate response to the problem concerning our knowledge about other people's experiences can be achieved if we focus on interpersonal comparisons of degrees or strengths of preferences, and not pleasures or any other kind of utilities. We need to be impartial between our own and other people's preferences, not altruistic in its correct sense of giving more weight to the preference of others. We have to treat everyone as one, including ourselves: to do to others as we wish they should do to us.

Keywords: impartiality; preferences; utilitarianism; utility

Chapter.  4985 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.