David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Erkenntnis 64 (1):101-114 (2006)
A persistent argument against the transitivity assumption of rational choice theory postulates a repeatable action that generates a significant benefit at the expense of a negligible cost. No matter how many times the action has been taken, it therefore seems reasonable for a decision-maker to take the action one more time. However, matters are so fixed that the costs of taking the action some large number of times outweigh the benefits. In taking the action some large number of times on the grounds that the benefits outweigh the costs every time, the decision-maker therefore reveals intransitive preferences, since once she has taken it this large number of times, she would prefer to return to the situation in which she had never taken the action at all. We defend transitivity against two versions of this argument: one in which it is assumed that taking the action one more time never has any perceptible cost, and one in which it is assumed that the cost of taking the action, though (sometimes) perceptible, is so small as to be outweighed at every step by the significant benefit. We argue that the description of the choice situation in the first version involves a contradiction. We also argue that the reasoning used in the second version is a form of similarity-based decision-making. We argue that when the consequences of using similarity-based decision-making are brought to light, rational decision-makers revise their preferences. We also discuss one method that might be used in performing this revision.
|Keywords||Transivitity Similarity-Based Decision-Making Decision Theory|
|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
Frank Arntzenius & David McCarthy (1997). Self Torture and Group Beneficence. Erkenntnis 47 (1):129-144.
Erik Carlson (1996). Cyclical Preferences and Rational Choice. Theoria 62 (1-2):144-160.
Warren S. Quinn (1990). The Puzzle of the Self-Torturer. Philosophical Studies 59 (1):79-90.
Diana Raffman (1994). Vagueness Without Paradox. Philosophical Review 103 (1):41-74.
Citations of this work BETA
Chrisoula Andreou (2014). The Good, the Bad, and the Trivial. Philosophical Studies 169 (2):209-225.
Similar books and articles
Stephen G. Pauker (1984). Decision Analysis as a Basis for Medical Decision Making: The Tree of Hippocrates. Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 9 (2):181-214.
Kevin Morrell (2004). Decision Making and Business Ethics: The Implications of Using Image Theory in Preference to Rational Choice. [REVIEW] Journal of Business Ethics 50 (3):239-252.
Horacio Arló-Costa (2005). Similarity in Logical Reasoning and Decision-Making. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 28 (1):14-15.
E. Goldberg & K. Podell (1999). Adaptive Versus Veridical Decision Making and the Frontal Lobes. Consciousness and Cognition 8 (3):364-377.
Terry Connolly (1999). Action as a Fast and Frugal Heuristic. Minds and Machines 9 (4):479-496.
Thomas Pink (1996). The Psychology of Freedom. Cambridge University Press.
Alex Voorhoeve (2008). Heuristics and Biases in a Purported Counter-Example to the Acyclicity of 'Better Than'. Politics, Philosophy and Economics 7 (3):285-299.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads66 ( #27,801 of 1,679,301 )
Recent downloads (6 months)9 ( #25,989 of 1,679,301 )
How can I increase my downloads?