Are Interpersonal Comparisons of Utility Indeterminate?

@article{List2003AreIC,
  title={Are Interpersonal Comparisons of Utility Indeterminate?},
  author={Christian List},
  journal={Erkenntnis},
  year={2003},
  volume={58},
  pages={229-260}
}
  • C. List
  • Published 1 March 2003
  • Sociology
  • Erkenntnis
On the orthodox view in economics, interpersonal comparisons of utilityare not empirically meaningful, and ``hence'' impossible. To reassess this view, this paper draws onthe parallels between the problem of interpersonal comparisons of utility and the problem of translation of linguisticmeaning, as explored by Quine. I discuss several cases of what the empirical evidence for interpersonal comparisonsof utility might be and show that, even on the strongest of these, interpersonal comparisons… Expand

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