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Classifying theories of welfare

Woodard, Christopher

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This paper argues that we should replace the common classification of theories of welfare into the categories of hedonism, desire theories, and objective list theories. The tripartite classification is objectionable because it is unduly narrow and it is confusing: it excludes theories of welfare that are worthy of discussion, and it obscures important distinctions. In its place, the paper proposes two independent classifications corresponding to a distinction emphasised by Roger Crisp: a four-category classification of enumerative theories (about which items constitute welfare), and a four-category classification of explanatory theories (about why these items constitute welfare).


Woodard, C. (2013). Classifying theories of welfare. Philosophical Studies, 165(3),

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Sep 1, 2013
Deposit Date Apr 7, 2014
Publicly Available Date Apr 7, 2014
Journal Philosophical Studies
Print ISSN 0554-0739
Electronic ISSN 1573-0883
Publisher Philosophy Documentation Center
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 165
Issue 3
Keywords Welfare; Typology: Explanatory question; Enumerative question.
Public URL
Publisher URL


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