Bounded Utilities and Ex Ante Pareto
This talk shows that decision theories on which utilities are bounded, such as standard axiomatizations of Expected Utility Theory, violate Ex Ante Pareto if combined with an additive axiology, such as Total Utilitarianism. A series of impossibility theorems point toward Total Utilitarianism as the right account of axiology, while money-pump arguments put Expected Utility Theory in a favorable light. However, it is not clear how these two views can be reconciled. This question is particularly puzzling if utilities are bounded (as standard axiomatizations of Expected Utility Theory imply) because the total quantity of well-being might be infinite or arbitrarily large. Thus, there must be a non-linear transformation from the total quantity of well-being into utilities used in decision-making. However, such a transformation leads to violations of Ex Ante Pareto. So, the reconciliation of Expected Utility Theory and Total Utilitarianism prescribes prospects that are better for none and worse for some.