David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jonathan Jenkins Ichikawa
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Politics, Philosophy and Economics 2 (2):239-263 (2003)
Jon Elster denies that collectives can behave rationally. Rational behavior requires action in conformity with preferences and beliefs. According to Elster, however, social choice theory demonstrates that collectives cannot have preferences, even in principle, and this precludes them from behaving either rationally or irrationally. (Irrationality, after all, is a property that can only be possessed by something that could in theory be rational.) Elster, however, does not fully accept this refutation of the possibility of collective rationality. For in exploring the question of random selection, he argues that collectives, as well as individuals, can employ random selection as a tool to facilitate more rational behavior. This contradiction can be resolved if collective preferences are not as inconceivable as Elster suggests, and Elster himself gives reason for believing they may not be. He does this by distinguishing between a thin and a broad theory of rationality. His refutation of the possibility of collective preferences depends on a thin theory of preferences (and beliefs), a theory that he admits is inadequate for purposes of normative assessment. A broad theory of preferences and beliefs, when properly developed, could well accommodate the notion of collective preferences and beliefs, and thus of collective rationality. Key Words: Elster rationality social choice theory.
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Jon Elster (1983). Sour Grapes: Studies in the Subversion of Rationality. Editions De La Maison des Sciences De L'Homme.
Michael Taylor (1995). Battering RAMs. Critical Review 9 (1-2):223-234.
Donald W. Bruckner (2007). Rational Responsibility for Preferences and Moral Responsibility for Character Traits. Journal of Philosophical Research 32:191-209.
Margaret P. Gilbert (2001). Collective Preferences, Obligations, and Rational Choice. Economics and Philosophy 17 (1):109-119.
Ignacio Sánchez-Cuenca (2008). A Preference for Selfish Preferences: The Problem of Motivations in Rational Choice Political Science. Philosophy of the Social Sciences 38 (3):361-378.
Franz Dietrich & Christian List (2013). Where Do Preferences Come From? International Journal of Game Theory 42 (3):613-637.
Aaron Wildavsky (1991). Can Norms Rescue Self‐Interest or Macro Explanation Be Joined to Micro Explanation? Critical Review 5 (3):301-323.
Tore Sandven (1999). Autonomy, Adaptation, and Rationality a Critical Discussion of Jon Elster's Concept of "Sour Grapes". Philosophy of the Social Sciences 29 (1):3-31.
Tore Sandven (1999). Autonomy, Adaptation, and Rationality-a Critical Discussion of Jon Elster's Concept of "Sour Grapes," Part II. Philosophy of the Social Sciences 29 (2):173-205.
Philippe Mongin (1991). Rational Choice Theory Considered as Psychology and Moral Philosophy. Philosophy of the Social Sciences 21 (1):5-37.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads35 ( #135,320 of 1,932,454 )
Recent downloads (6 months)2 ( #332,988 of 1,932,454 )
How can I increase my downloads?