Decision theoretic foundations for axioms of rational preference

Synthese 109 (3):401 - 412 (1996)
Abstract
Rationality postulates for preferences are developed from two basic decision theoretic principles, namely: (1) the logic of preference is determined by paradigmatic cases in which preferences are choice-guiding, and (2) excessive comparison costs should be avoided. It is shown how the logical requirements on preferences depend on the structure of comparison costs. The preference postulates necessary for choice guidance in a single decision problem are much weaker than completeness and transitivity. Stronger postulates, such as completeness and transitivity, can be derived under the further assumption that the original preference relation should also be capable of guiding choice after any restriction of the original set of alternatives.
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