PoS seminar 8.2. with Roberto Fumagalli

At the next Perspectives on Science seminar on Monday 8.2., Roberto Fumagalli (King’s College London) will give a presentation titled “Preferences versus Opportunities: Which Conceptual Foundation for Normative Welfare Economics?”. The seminar takes place in Zoom from 2 to 4 pm.

Perspectives on Science is a weekly research seminar which brings together experts from science studies and philosophy of science. It is organized by TINT, the Centre for Philosophy of Social Science at the University of Helsinki. More information about the seminar here.

To join the seminar, please sign up here.


Normative welfare economics commonly assumes that individuals’ preferences can be reliably inferred from their choices and relies on preference satisfaction as the normative standard for welfare. In recent years, several authors criticized welfare economists’ reliance on preference satisfaction as the normative standard for welfare and advocated grounding normative welfare economics on opportunities rather than preferences. In this paper, I argue that although preference-based approaches to normative welfare economics face significant conceptual and practical challenges, opportunity-based approaches fail to provide a more reliable and informative foundation for normative welfare economics than preference-based approaches. I then rebut some influential calls to ground normative welfare economics on opportunities rather than preferences to support my qualified defence of preference-based approaches.

Author bio:

Dr. Roberto Fumagalli is Lecturer (tenured) at King’s College London, where he has recently been Director of the PPE Program. His research interests cover a wide range of areas, including philosophy of science, philosophy of economics, moral and political philosophy, philosophy and public policy. He has published articles in several international journals, including Philosophical Studies, Philosophy of Science, Economics and Philosophy, Biology and Philosophy, Erkenntnis, Theory and Decision, Social Choice and Welfare, Philosophy of the Social Sciences, the Journal of Social Philosophy, the Journal of Economic Methodology, Bioethics, Synthese, Studia Leibnitiana, Studies in History and Philosophy of Science.

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