Cardinalism pp 105-165 | Cite as

Cardinal Utility: A History of Hedonimetry

Part of the Theory and Decision Library book series (TDLA, volume 19)


The paper chronicles the scientific use and abuse of cardinal utility during more than two centuries. Surveying the contributions from moral philosophers, economists, psychologists and mathematicians, it is shown that cardinal utility is used as a name not only for one but for a large number of formally distinct concepts. Throughout the years these have become extensively confused, and still are.

Lack of conceptual precision is argued to be the main reason why scientists have disagreed over whether pleasure can be measured, and if so whether such measures can be used for policy purposes.


Utility Function Risk Aversion Social Choice Marginal Utility Utility Theory 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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