Known for his disdain for utilitarianism, Ronald Dworkin offers a non-utilitarian solution to the problem of redistribution to the disabled: hypothetical insurance. Dworkin expounds on hypothetical insurance in his book Sovereign Virtue, which also tackles distributive justice. This chapter argues that Dworkin's hypothetical insurance is in reality a form of utilitarianism and may be considered a type of hypothetical-choice utilitarianism similar to early efforts by utilitarian economists John Harsanyi and William Vickrey. It first shows that hypothetical insurance makes use of a greater-benefit criterion, in a manner similar to utilitarianism, and suggests that its appeal lies in its ability to make interpersonal welfare comparisons in aid of utilitarian judgments. It then claims that hypothetical insurance has no secure basis in what Dworkin presents as his wider egalitarian theory. The chapter concludes by looking at Dworkin's attempts to distinguish his system from utilitarianism.
Keywords: utilitarianism, Ronald Dworkin, redistribution, hypothetical insurance, Sovereign Virtue, distributive justice, hypothetical-choice utilitarianism, John Harsanyi, William Vickrey, greater-benefit criterion
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