Interpersonal Comparisons of Well-Being
Dr Adam Shriver, Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics
Wednesday, 27 November 2019, 11am to 12.30pm
Ethox and the Wellcome Centre for Ethics and Humanities are based at the Big Data Institute, University of Oxford, Li Ka Shing Centre for Health Information and Discovery, Old Road Campus, Oxford OX3 7FZ. The talk will be held in seminar room 0.
On most ethical theories, interpersonal comparisons of well-being matter for some decisions, and on some ethical theories, interpersonal comparisons matter for all decisions. But there are very challenging questions about how we can compare the well-being of different individuals. In this presentation, I review how new developments in brain imaging might impact our ability to compare positive and negative experiences across individuals. I argue that brain imaging technology is likely to be able to solve some challenges related to interpersonal comparisons, though not the most challenging philosophical objections. And, even putting aside these objections, I suggest there are particular challenges with comparing positive and negative experiences.