Philosophy 290-2

Fall 2012

Number Title Instructor Days/time Room
290-2 Graduate Seminar: Social Choice Theory: Social Welfare&Individual Preferences Buchak W 4-6 234 Moses

This seminar explores connection between social welfare and individual preferences. What bearing does preference satisfaction have on well-being? Which normative principles are important to respect in social distributions, and how are these principles represented in formal theories about determining social welfare? In particular, we will consider how equality matters to the value of a social distribution; and whether a social distribution should respect Pareto optimality, the idea that if everyone prefers x to y then x is socially preferred to y. We will also consider the question of how interpersonal considerations in picking a social distribution relate to individual considerations in picking a gamble, and the question of what individual preferences in decision-making under risk reveal about social preferences. Finally, we will consider the distribution of value over time.

This course is intended for graduate students in philosophy, but advanced undergraduates may enroll with permission. No background in decision, game, or social choice theory is required, but a general facility with technical material is assumed.