Abstract

It is standardly assumed that chances and risks are not carriers of value, but are only instrumentally valuable in virtue of the outcomes with which they are associated. This standard view entails that being at risk of some accident, without knowing it, does not harm you if there is no accident. I call this view---embodied, for instance, in expected utility theory, risk analysis and orthodox economics---Chance Neutrality. In another paper, I argue that from a social perspective, we should treat chances as intrinsically valuable, and argue that chances have decreasing marginal moral value. Many welfare economists would say that this view is implausible: Chance Neutrality is rationally required, they say, and hence my view entails that the "social planner" is irrational. The aim of this paper is to question the claim that Chance Neutrality is rationally required. I will do so by first showing that given Chance Neutrality, the Principal Principle---according to which a person should align her credence with her beliefs about objective chance---is logically equivalent to Linearity---the claim that the value of a lottery is equal to the sum of the values of the lottery’s prizes discounted by their probabilities. I then argue that the Principal Principle is a requirement of practical rationality but that Linearity is not. Hence, Chance Neutrality is not rationally required.