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  1. Mark Alfano (2012). Wilde Heuristics and Rum Tum Tuggers: Preference Indeterminacy and Instability. Synthese 189 (S1):5-15.
    Models in decision theory and game theory assume that preferences are determinate: for any pair of possible outcomes, a and b, an agent either prefers a to b, prefers b to a, or is indifferent as between a and b. Preferences are also assumed to be stable: provided the agent is fully informed, trivial situational influences will not shift the order of her preferences. Research by behavioral economists suggests, however, that economic and hedonic preferences are to some degree indeterminate and (...)
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  2. Chrisoula Andreou (forthcoming). Cashing Out the Money-Pump Argument. Philosophical Studies:1-5.
    The money-pump argument figures as the staple argument in support of the view that cyclic preferences are irrational. According to a prominent way of understanding the argument, it is grounded in the assumption that it is irrational to make choices that lead one to a dispreferred alternative. My aim in this paper is to motivate diffidence with respect to understanding the money-pump argument in this way by suggesting that if it is so understood, the argument emerges as question-begging and as (...)
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  3. Chrisoula Andreou (2015). The Real Puzzle of the Self-Torturer: Uncovering a New Dimension of Instrumental Rationality. Canadian Journal of Philosophy 45 (5-6):562-575.
    The puzzle of the self-torturer raises intriguing questions concerning rationality, cyclic preferences, and resoluteness. Interestingly, what makes the case puzzling has not been clearly pinpointed. The puzzle, it seems, is that a series of rational choices foreseeably leads the self-torturer to an option that serves his preferences worse than the one with which he started. But this is a very misleading way of casting the puzzle. I pinpoint the real puzzle of the self-torturer and, in the process, reveal a neglected (...)
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  4. Chrisoula Andreou (2007). There Are Preferences and Then There Are Preferences. In Barbara Montero and Mark D. White (ed.), Economics and the Mind.
    This paper draws a distinction between two closely related conceptions of 'preference' that is of great significance relative to a set of interrelated debates in rational choice theory. The distinction is particularly illuminating in relation to the idea that there is a rational defect inherent in individuals with intransitive preferences and, relatedly, in democratic collectives. I use the distinction to show that things are more complicated than they seem.
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  5. Chrisoula Andreou (2005). Incommensurable Alternatives and Rational Choice. Ratio 18 (3):249–261.
    I consider the implications of incommensurability for the assumption, in rational choice theory, that a rational agent’s preferences are complete. I argue that, contrary to appearances, the completeness assumption and the existence of incommensurability are compatible. Indeed, reflection on incommensurability suggests that one’s preferences should be complete over even the incommensurable alternatives one faces.
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  6. Horacio Arló-Costa (2005). Models of Preference Reversals and Personal Rules: Do They Require Maximizing a Utility Function with a Specific Structure? Behavioral and Brain Sciences 28 (5):650-651.
    One of the reasons for adopting hyperbolic discounting is to explain preference reversals. Another is that this value structure suggests an elegant theory of the will. I examine the capacity of the theory to solve Newcomb's problem. In addition, I compare Ainslie's account with other procedural theories of choice that seem at least equally capable of accommodating reversals of preference.
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  7. Brad Armendt (1988). Impartiality and Causal Decision Theory. PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1988:326 - 336.
    Defenders of sophisticated evidential decision theory (EDT) have argued (1) that its failure to provide correct recommendations in problems where the agent believes himself asymmetrically fallible in executing his choices is no flaw of the theory, and (2) that causal decision theory gives incorrect recommendations in certain examples unless it is supplemented with an additional metatickle or ratifiability deliberation mechanism. In the first part of this paper, I argue that both positions are incorrect. In the second part of the paper, (...)
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  8. Brad Armendt (1988). Conditional Preference and Causal Expected Utility. In William Harper & Brian Skyrms (eds.), Causation in Decision, Belief Change, and Statistics. Kluwer Academic Publishers 3-24.
    Sequel to Armendt 1986, ‘A Foundation for Causal Decision Theory.’ The representation theorem for causal decision theory is slightly revised, with the addition of a new restriction on lotteries and a new axiom (A7). The discussion gives some emphasis to the way in which appropriate K-partitions are characterized by relations found among the agent’s conditional preferences. The intended interpretation of conditional preference is one that embodies a sensitivity to the agent’s causal beliefs.
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  9. Brad Armendt (1986). A Foundation for Causal Decision Theory. Topoi 5 (1):3-19.
    The primary aim of this paper is the presentation of a foundation for causal decision theory. This is worth doing because causal decision theory (CDT) is philosophically the most adequate rational decision theory now available. I will not defend that claim here by elaborate comparison of the theory with all its competitors, but by providing the foundation. This puts the theory on an equal footing with competitors for which foundations have already been given. It turns out that it will also (...)
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  10. Kenneth J. Arrow (2006). Freedom and Social Choice: Notes in the Margin. Utilitas 18 (1):52-60.
    I comment on Amartya Sen's study of the relations between the analysis of freedom and the theory of social choice. Two of his themes are analysed with regard to their contribution to an analytic understanding of the issues. These are: (1) the multiple interpretations of the concept of ‘preferences’ as a foundation for the formal conceptualizations of social choice and freedom; and (2) some issues in the formalization of freedom as a value to be compared with outcomes. Under (2), I (...)
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  11. Nicholas Baigent (2007). Choices, Norms and Preference Revelation. Analyse & Kritik 29 (2).
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  12. Adam Bales, Daniel Cohen & Toby Handfield (2014). Decision Theory for Agents with Incomplete Preferences. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 92 (3):453-70.
    Orthodox decision theory gives no advice to agents who hold two goods to be incommensurate in value because such agents will have incomplete preferences. According to standard treatments, rationality requires complete preferences, so such agents are irrational. Experience shows, however, that incomplete preferences are ubiquitous in ordinary life. In this paper, we aim to do two things: (1) show that there is a good case for revising decision theory so as to allow it to apply non-vacuously to agents with incomplete (...)
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  13. F. Ben Abdelaziz, P. Lang & R. Nadeau (1999). Dominance and Efficiency in Multicriteria Decision Under Uncertainty. Theory and Decision 47 (3):191-211.
    This paper proposes several concepts of efficient solutions for multicriteria decision problems under uncertainty. We show how alternative notions of efficiency may be grounded on different decision ‘contexts’, depending on what is known about the Decision Maker's (DM) preference structure and probabilistic anticipations. We define efficient sets arising naturally from polar decision contexts. We investigate these sets from the points of view of their relative inclusions and point out some particular subsets which may be especially relevant to some decision situations.
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  14. Giacomo Bonanno (1988). Can Good News Lead to a More Pessimistic Choice of Action? Theory and Decision 25 (2):123-136.
    Adapting a definition introduced by Milgrom (1981) we say that a signal about the environment is good news relative to some initial beliefs if the posterior beliefs dominate the initial beliefs in the sense of first-order stochastic dominance (the assumption being that higher values of the parameter representing the environment mean better environments). We give an example where good news leads to the adoption of a more pessimistic course of action (we say that action a, reveals greater pessimism than action (...)
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  15. Giacomo Bonanno, James Delgrande & Hans Rott (2012). Guest Editors' Introduction. Journal of Philosophical Logic 41 (1):1-5.
    The contributions to the Special Issue on Multiple Belief Change, Iterated Belief Change and Preference Aggregation are divided into three parts. Four contributions are grouped under the heading "multiple belief change" (Part I, with authors M. Falappa, E. Fermé, G. Kern-Isberner, P. Peppas, M. Reis, and G. Simari), five contributions under the heading "iterated belief change" (Part II, with authors G. Bonanno, S.O. Hansson, A. Nayak, M. Orgun, R. Ramachandran, H. Rott, and E. Weydert). These papers do not only pick (...)
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  16. Richard Bradley (2009). Becker's Thesis and Three Models of Preference Change. Politics, Philosophy and Economics 8 (2):223-242.
    This article examines Becker's thesis that the hypothesis that choices maximize expected utility relative to fixed and universal tastes provides a general framework for the explanation of behaviour. Three different models of preference revision are presented and their scope evaluated. The first, the classical conditioning model, explains all changes in preferences in terms of changes in the information held by the agent, holding fundamental beliefs and desires fixed. The second, the Jeffrey conditioning model, explains them in terms of changes in (...)
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  17. Richard Bradley (2008). Preference Kinematics. In Till Grune (ed.), Preference Change: Approaches from Philosophy, Economics and Psychology.
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  18. Richard Bradley (1999). Conditional Desirability. Theory and Decision 47 (1):23-55.
    Conditional attitudes are not the attitudes an agent is disposed to acquire in event of learning that a condition holds. Rather they are the components of agent's current attitudes that derive from the consideration they give to the possibility that the condition is true. Jeffrey's decision theory can be extended to include quantitative representation of the strength of these components. A conditional desirability measure for degrees of conditional desire is proposed and shown to imply that an agent's degrees of conditional (...)
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  19. Richard B. Brandt (1998). The Rational Criticism of Preferences. In Christoph Fehige & Ulla Wessels (eds.), Preferences. De Gruyter 19--63.
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  20. Georg Brun (2009). Wer hat ein Problem mit irrationalen Präferenzen? Entscheidungstheorie und Überlegungsgleichgewicht. Studia Philosophica 68:11-41.
    Decision theory explicates norms of rationality for deriving preferences from preferences and beliefs. Empirical studies have found that actual preferences regularly violate these norms, launching a debate on whether this shows that subjects are prone to certain forms of irrationality or that decision theory needs to be revised. It has been claimed that such a revision is necessitated by the fact that normative uses of decision theory must be justified by a reflective equilibrium. The paper discusses three points. First, the (...)
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  21. Lara Buchak (forthcoming). Decision Theory. In Christopher Hitchcock & Alan Hajek (eds.), Oxford Handbook of Probability and Philosophy. Oxford University Press
    Decision theory has at its core a set of mathematical theorems that connect rational preferences to functions with certain structural properties. The components of these theorems, as well as their bearing on questions surrounding rationality, can be interpreted in a variety of ways. Philosophy’s current interest in decision theory represents a convergence of two very different lines of thought, one concerned with the question of how one ought to act, and the other concerned with the question of what action consists (...)
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  22. Lara Buchak (2016). Why High-Risk, Non-Expected-Utility-Maximising Gambles Can Be Rational and Beneficial: The Case of HIV Cure Studies. Journal of Medical Ethics:1-6.
    Some early phase clinical studies of candidate HIV cure and remission interventions appear to have adverse medical risk–benefit ratios for participants. Why, then, do people participate? And is it ethically permissible to allow them to participate? Recent work in decision theory sheds light on both of these questions, by casting doubt on the idea that rational individuals prefer choices that maximise expected utility, and therefore by casting doubt on the idea that researchers have an ethical obligation not to enrol participants (...)
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  23. Lara Buchak (2016). Revisiting Risk and Rationality: A Reply to Pettigrew and Briggs. Canadian Journal of Philosophy 45 (5-6):841-862.
    I have claimed that risk-weighted expected utility maximizers are rational, and that their preferences cannot be captured by expected utility theory. Richard Pettigrew and Rachael Briggs have recently challenged these claims. Both authors argue that only EU-maximizers are rational. In addition, Pettigrew argues that the preferences of REU-maximizers can indeed be captured by EU theory, and Briggs argues that REU-maximizers lose a valuable tool for simplifying their decision problems. I hold that their arguments do not succeed and that my original (...)
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  24. Lara Buchak (2014). Risk and Tradeoffs. Erkenntnis 79 (S6):1091-1117.
    The orthodox theory of instrumental rationality, expected utility (EU) theory, severely restricts the way in which risk-considerations can figure into a rational individual's preferences. It is argued here that this is because EU theory neglects an important component of instrumental rationality. This paper presents a more general theory of decision-making, risk-weighted expected utility (REU) theory, of which expected utility maximization is a special case. According to REU theory, the weight that each outcome gets in decision-making is not the subjective probability (...)
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  25. Lara Buchak (2013). Risk and Rationality. OUP Oxford.
    Lara Buchak sets out a new account of rational decision-making in the face of risk. She argues that the orthodox view is too narrow, and suggests an alternative, more permissive theory: one that allows individuals to pay attention to the worst-case or best-case scenario, and vindicates the ordinary decision-maker.
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  26. Jerome R. Busemeyer, Joseph G. Johnson & Ryan K. Jessup (2006). Preferences Constructed From Dynamic Micro-Processing Mechanisms. In Sarah Lichtenstein & Paul Slovic (eds.), The Construction of Preference. Cambridge University Press 220--234.
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  27. Juan C. Candeal, Juan R. de Miguel & Esteban Induráin (2002). Expected Utility From Additive Utility on Semigroups. Theory and Decision 53 (1):87-94.
    In the present paper we study the framework of additive utility theory, obtaining new results derived from a concurrence of algebraic and topological techniques. Such techniques lean on the concept of a connected topological totally ordered semigroup. We achieve a general result concerning the existence of continuous and additive utility functions on completely preordered sets endowed with a binary operation ``+'', not necessarily being commutative or associative. In the final part of the paper we get some applications to expected utility (...)
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  28. Marc Champagne (2015). Don’T Be an Ass: Rational Choice and its Limits. Reason Papers 37 (1):137-147.
    Deliberation is often seen as the site of human freedom, but the binding power of rationality seems to imply that deliberation is, in its own way, a deterministic process. If one knows the starting preferences and circumstances of an agent, then, assuming that the agent is rational and that those preferences and circumstances don’t change, one should be in a position to predict what the agent will decide. However, given that an agent could conceivably confront equally attractive alternatives, it is (...)
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  29. Ruth Chang (2002). The Possibility of Parity. Ethics 112 (4):659-688.
    This paper argues for the existence of a fourth positive generic value relation that can hold between two items beyond ‘better than’, ‘worse than’, and ‘equally good’: namely ‘on a par’.
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  30. Stephen A. Clark (2000). Revealed Preference and Expected Utility. Theory and Decision 49 (2):159-174.
    This essay gives necessary and sufficient conditions for recovering expected utility from choice behavior in several popular models of uncertainty. In particular, these techniques handle a finite state model; a model for which the choice space consists of probability densities and the expected utility representation requires bounded, measurable utility; and a model for which the choice space consists of Borel probability measures and the expected utility representation requires bounded, continuous utility. The key result is the identification of the continuity condition (...)
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  31. Christopher Clarke (2016). Preferences and Positivist Methodology in Economics. Philosophy of Science 83:192-212.
    I distinguish several doctrines that economic methodologists have found attractive, all of which have a positivist flavour. One of these is the doctrine that preference assignments in economics are just shorthand descriptions of agents' choice behaviour. Although most of these doctrines are problematic, the latter doctrine about preference assignments is a respectable one, I argue. It doesn't entail any of the problematic doctrines, and indeed it is warranted independently of them.
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  32. Wesley Cooper (2008). Nozick, Ramsey, and Symbolic Utility. Utilitas 20 (3):301-322.
    I explore a connection between Robert Nozick's account of decision value/symbolic utility in The Nature of Rationality and F. P. Ramsey's discussion of ethically neutral propositions in his 1926 essay , a discussion that Brian Skyrms in Choice and Chance credits with disclosing deeper foundations for expected utility than the celebrated Theory of Games and Economic Behavior of von Neumann and Morgenstern. Ramsey's recognition of ethically non-neutral propositions is essential to his foundational work, and the similarity of these propositions to (...)
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  33. John Craven (1982). Liberalism and Individual Preferences. Theory and Decision 14 (4):351-360.
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  34. Hausman Daniel (1991). On Dogmatism in Economics: The Case of Preference Reversals. Journal of Socio-Economics 20 (3):205-225.
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  35. Franz Dietrich & Christian List, Reason-Based Rationalization.
    [This version of the paper has been superseded by "Reason-based choice and context-dependence: An explanatory framework", forthcoming in Economics & Philosophy.] -/- We introduce a “reason-based” way of rationalizing an agent’s choice behaviour, which explains choices by specifying which properties of the options or choice context the agent cares about (the “motivationally salient properties”) and how he or she cares about these properties (the “fundamental preference relation”). Reason-based rationalizations can explain non-classical choice behaviour, including boundedly rational and sophisticated rational behaviour, (...)
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  36. Franz Dietrich & Christian List (2013). A Reason-Based Theory of Rational Choice. Noûs 47 (1):104-134.
    There is a surprising disconnect between formal rational choice theory and philosophical work on reasons. The one is silent on the role of reasons in rational choices, the other rarely engages with the formal models of decision problems used by social scientists. To bridge this gap, we propose a new, reason-based theory of rational choice. At its core is an account of preference formation, according to which an agent’s preferences are determined by his or her motivating reasons, together with a (...)
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  37. Franz Dietrich & Christian List (2013). Where Do Preferences Come From? International Journal of Game Theory 42 (3):613-637.
    Rational choice theory analyzes how an agent can rationally act, given his or her preferences, but says little about where those preferences come from. Preferences are usually assumed to be fixed and exogenously given. Building on related work on reasons and rational choice, we describe a framework for conceptualizing preference formation and preference change. In our model, an agent's preferences are based on certain "motivationally salient" properties of the alternatives over which the preferences are held. Preferences may change as new (...)
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  38. Franz Dietrich & Christian List (2011). A Model of Non-Informational Preference Change. Journal of Theoretical Politics 23 (2):145-164.
    According to standard rational choice theory, as commonly used in political science and economics, an agent's fundamental preferences are exogenously fixed, and any preference change over decision options is due to Bayesian information learning. Although elegant and parsimonious, such a model fails to account for preference change driven by experiences or psychological changes distinct from information learning. We develop a model of non-informational preference change. Alternatives are modelled as points in some multidimensional space, only some of whose dimensions play a (...)
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  39. Ben Eggleston (2015). The Number of Preference Orderings: A Recursive Approach. The Mathematical Gazette 99 (544):21-32.
    This article discusses approaches to the problem of the number of preference orderings that can be constructed from a given set of alternatives. After briefly reviewing the prevalent approach to this problem, which involves determining a partitioning of the alternatives and then a permutation of the partitions, this article explains a recursive approach and shows it to have certain advantages over the partitioning one.
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  40. Nathalie Etchart (2002). Adequate Moods for Non-Eu Decision Making in a Sequential Framework. Theory and Decision 52 (1):1-28.
    In a dynamic (sequential) framework, departures from the independence axiom (IND) are reputed to induce violations of dynamic consistency (DC), which may in turn have undesirable normative consequences. This result thus questions the normative acceptability of non expected-utility (non-EU) models, which precisely relax IND. This paper pursues a twofold objective. The main one is to discuss the normative conclusion: usual arguments linking violations of DC to departures from IND are shown to be actually based on specific (but usually remaining implicit) (...)
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  41. Peter C. Fishburn (1970). Utility Theory with Inexact Preferences and Degrees of Preference. Synthese 21 (2):204 - 221.
    a–b* c–d is taken to mean that your degree of preference for a over b is less than your degree of preference for c over d. Various properties of the strength-of-preference comparison relation * are examined along with properties of simple preferences defined from *. The investigation recognizes an individual's limited ability to make precise judgments. Several utility theorems relating a–b * c–d to u(a)–u(b) are included.
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  42. Branden Fitelson & Lara Buchak, Separability Assumptions in Scoring-Rule-Based Arguments for Probabilism.
    - In decision theory, an agent is deciding how to value a gamble that results in different outcomes in different states. Each outcome gets a utility value for the agent.
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  43. Phan H. Giang & Prakash P. Shenoy (2000). A Qualitative Linear Utility Theory for Spohn's Theory of Epistemic Beliefs. In C. Boutilier & M. Goldszmidt (eds.), Uncertainty in Artificial Intelligence 16. Morgan Kaufmann
    In this paper, we formulate a qualitative “linear” utility theory for lotteries in which uncertainty is expressed qualitatively using a Spohnian disbelief function. We argue that a rational decision maker facing an uncertain decision problem in which the uncertainty is expressed qualitatively should behave so as to maximize “qualitative expected utility.” Our axiomatization of the qualitative utility is similar to the axiomatization developed by von Neumann and Morgenstern for probabilistic lotteries. We compare our results with other recent results in qualitative (...)
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  44. Robin Giles (1992). A Generalization of the Theory of Subjective Probability and Expected Utility. Synthese 90 (2):301 - 343.
    A generalization of the usual approach to the expected utility theory is given, with the aim of representing the state of belief of an agent who may decline on grounds of ignorance to express a preference between a given pair of acts and would, therefore, be considered irrational from a Bayesian point of view. Taking state, act, and outcome as primitive concepts, a utility function on the outcomes is constructed in the usual way. Each act is represented by a utility-valued (...)
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  45. Gary Goh, We Are Optimizers: Re-Opening the Case for Rational Genuine Satisficing.
    This paper critically reviews the arguments supporting rational genuine satisficing. The deconstructive effort unearths inherent problems with the position in both static and dynamic contexts. Many of these arguments build on Herbert Simon’s canonical arguments surrounding incommensurability and demandingness problems. Optimizing is re-constructed using the principles of instrumental satisficing to answer these charges. The resulting conception is both obviously undemanding and a recognizable response to focused decision making.
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  46. Johan E. Gustafsson (2016). Money Pumps, Incompleteness, and Indeterminacy. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 92 (1):60-72.
    In an alleged counter-example to the completeness of rational preferences, a career as a clarinettist is compared with a career in law. It seems reasonable to neither want to judge that the law career is at least as preferred as the clarinet career nor want to judge that the clarinet career is at least as preferred as the law career. The two standard interpretations of examples of this kind are, first, that the examples show that preferences are rationally permitted to (...)
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  47. Johan E. Gustafsson (2013). The Irrelevance of the Diachronic Money-Pump Argument for Acyclicity. Journal of Philosophy 110 (8):460–464.
    The money-pump argument is the standard argument for the acyclicity of rational preferences. The argument purports to show that agents with cyclic preferences are in some possible situations forced to act against their preference. In the usual, diachronic version of the money-pump argument, such agents accept a series of trades that leaves them worse off than before. Two stock objections are (i) that one may get the drift and refuse the trades and (ii) that one may adopt a plan to (...)
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  48. Johan E. Gustafsson (2013). Value-Preference Symmetry and Fitting-Attitude Accounts of Value Relations. Philosophical Quarterly 63 (252):476–491.
    Joshua Gert and Wlodek Rabinowicz have developed frameworks for value relations that are rich enough to allow for non-standard value relations such as parity. Yet their frameworks do not allow for any non-standard preference relations. In this paper, I shall defend a symmetry between values and preferences, namely, that for every value relation, there is a corresponding preference relation, and vice versa. I claim that if the arguments that there are non-standard value relations are cogent, these arguments, mutatis mutandis, also (...)
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  49. Johan E. Gustafsson (2011). Preference and Choice. Dissertation, Royal Institute of Technology
  50. Johan E. Gustafsson (2011). An Extended Framework for Preference Relations. Economics and Philosophy 27 (3):360–367.
    In order to account for non-traditional preference relations the present paper develops a new, richer framework for preference relations. This new framework provides characterizations of non-traditional preference relations, such as incommensurateness and instability, that may hold when neither preference nor indifference do. The new framework models relations with swaps, which are conceived of as transfers from one alternative state to another. The traditional framework analyses dyadic preference relations in terms of a hypothetical choice between the two compared alternatives. The swap (...)
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