David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Politics, Philosophy and Economics 7 (3):285-299 (2008)
Stuart Rachels and Larry Temkin have offered a purported counter-example to the acyclicity of the relationship 'all things considered better than'. This example invokes our intuitive preferences over pairs of alternatives involving a single person's painful experiences of varying intensity and duration. These preferences, Rachels and Temkin claim, are confidently held, entirely reasonable, and cyclical. They conclude that we should drop acyclicity as a requirement of rationality. I argue that, together with the findings of recent research on the way people evaluate episodes of pain, the use of a heuristic known as similarity-based decision-making explains why our intuitive preferences may violate acyclicity in this example. I argue that this explanation should lead us to regard these preferences with suspicion, because it indicates that they may be the result of one or more biases. I conclude that Rachels' and Temkin's example does not provide sufficient grounds for rejecting acyclicity.
|Keywords||Rational choice theory transitivity decision theory|
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Alex Voorhoeve (2013). Vaulting Intuition: Temkin's Critique of Transitivity. Economics and Philosophy 29 (3):409-425.
Yitzhak Benbaji (2009). Parity, Intransitivity, and a Context-Sensitive Degree Analysis of Gradability. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 87 (2):313-335.
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