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Online Colloquium PPE, May 26: The Value of a Life-Year and the Intuition of Universality, by Marc Fleurbaey and Gregory Ponthiere

PPE Colloquium - online event
Wednesday May 26, 2021
For a link to the online colloquium: please contact prof. dr Frank HIndriks This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
The Value of a Life-Year and the Intuition of Universality, by Marc Fleurbaey and  Gregory Ponthiere
When considering the social valuation of a life-year, there is a conflict between two basic intuitions: on the one hand, the intuition of universality, according to which the value of an additional life-year should be universal, and, as such, should be invariant to the context considered; on the other hand, the intuition of complementarity, according to which the value of a life-year should depend on what this extra life-year allows for, and, hence, on the quality of that life-year, because the quantity of life and the quality of life are complement to each other. This paper proposes three distinct accounts of the intuition of universality, and shows that those accounts either conflict with a basic monotonicity property, or lead to indifference with respect to how life-years are distributed within the population. Those results support dropping the intuition of universality. But abandoning the intuition of universality does not prevent a social evaluator from giving priority, when allocating life-years, to individuals with the lowest quality of life.
University of Groningen
Centre for Philosophy, Politics and Economics
Picture by Visa Kopu on Flickr Creative Commons