a1 University of Newcastle Upon Tyne
Without doubt, Weighing Lives, like its precursor, Weighing Goods, is an excellent and thought-provoking piece of work. In the first place, it addresses a question of the most fundamental importance, namely: how should we aggregate the well-being of past, present and future members of the human race under the various possible states of the world that may, in the event, prevail? This involves, amongst other things, dealing with questions of aggregation across time, people and different states of the world; the issue of what constitutes a “neutral” state of well-being (i.e., one neither better nor worse than not being alive) and what is, in fact, the value of continuing to survive.
* This paper is part of the Book Symposium on John Broome's Weighing Lives, published in the March 2007 issue of Economics and Philosophy. Due to an editorial oversight, it was not included in that issue. It is followed by the relevant part of John Broome's response, reprinted from the original symposium.