Article responds to the criticism of speciesism that it is somehow less immoral than other -isms by showing that this is a mistake resting on an inadequate taxonomy of the various -isms. Criticizes argument by Bonnie Steinbock that preference to your own species is not immoral by comparison with racism of comparable level.
Philosophers have advocated different kinds of freedom, but each has value and none should be neglected in a complete theory of freedom and responsibility. There are three kinds of freedom of preference and action that should be distinguished. A person S may fully prefer to do A at every level, and that is one kind of freedom. A person S may autonomously prefer to do A when S has the preference structure concerning doing A because S prefers to (...) have that very preference structure, and that is a second kind of freedom. A person S may prefer to do A when S could have preferred otherwise, and that is a third kind of freedom. These forms of freedom may be combined, but they are valuable and essentially independent. They all involve the metamental ascendence of preference over desire, but it is autonomous preference that makes a person the author of his or her preference. The responsibility a person has for what he or she does out of a preference for doing it depends on the kinds of freedom of preference the person has and must be ranked in terms of them. (shrink)
It has been argued that only moral agents can have preference-interests and this therefore excludes animals. I will present two objections to this argument. The first will show that moral agency is not necessary to have preference-interests. The second will assert that the argument that animals cannot have preference-interests has unwelcome consequences.
I argue that Gauthier's constrained-maximizer rationality is problematic. But standard Maximizing Rationality means one's preferences are only rational if it would not maximize on them to adopt new ones. In the Prisoner's Dilemma, it maximizes to adopt conditionally cooperative preferences. (These are detailed, with a view to avoiding problems of circularity of definition.) Morality then maximizes. I distinguish the roles played in rational choices and their bases by preferences, dispositions, moral and rational principles, the aim of rational action, and rational (...) decision rules. I argue that Maximizing Rationality necessarily structures conclusive reasons for action. Thus conations of any sort can base rational choices only if the conations are structured like a coherent preference function; rational actions maximize on such functions. Maximization-constraining dispositions cannot integrate into a coherent preference function. (shrink)
This paper discusses the argument for preference utilitarianism proposed by Richard Hare in Moral Thinking(Hare, 1981). G. F. Schueler (1984) and Ingmar Persson (1989) identified a serious gap in Hare’s reasoning, which might be called the No-Conflict Problem. The paper first tries to fill the gap. Then, however, starting with an idea of Zeno Vendler, the question is raised whether the gap is there to begin with. Unfortunately, this Vendlerian move does not save Hare from criticism. Paradoxically, it instead (...) endangers the whole argumentative enterprise. (shrink)
Experimental phenomenology has demonstrated that perception is much richer than stimulus. As is seen in color perception, one and the same stimulus provides more than several modes of appearance or perceptual dimensions. Similarly, there are various perceptual dimensions in form perception. Even a simple geometrical figure inducing visual illusion gives not only perceptual impressions of size, shape, slant, depth, and orientation, but also affective or aesthetic impressions. The present study reviews our experimental phenomenological work on visual illusion and experimental aesthetics, (...) and examines how aesthetic preference is influenced by stimulus factors determining visual illusions including anomalous surface and transparency as well as geometrical illusion. Along with line figures producing geometrical illusions, illusory surface figures inducing neon color spreading and transparency effects were used as test patterns. Participants made both of psychophysical judgments and of aesthetic judgments for the same test pattern. Both of geometrical illusions and aesthetic preferences were found to change similarly as a function of stimulus variables such as the number of filling lines and the size ratio of the inner and outer figural components. Also, following specific stimulus variables such as lightness contrast ratio and spatial interval between inducing figural elements (so called ``packmen''), strong effects of color spreading and transparency were accompanied with strong preferences. It seems that the paradigm to investigate aesthetic phenomena along with perceptual dimensions is useful to bridge the gap between experimental phenomenology and experimental aesthetics. (shrink)
Preference is a key area where analytic philosophy meets philosophical logic. I start with two related issues: reasons for preference, and changes in preference, first mentioned in von Wright’s book The Logic of Preference but not thoroughly explored there. I show how these two issues can be handled together in one dynamic logical framework, working with structured two-level models, and I investigate the resulting dynamics of reason-based preference in some detail. Next, I study the foundational (...) issue of entanglement between preference and beliefs, and relate the resulting richer logics to belief revision theory and decision theory. (shrink)
In preference aggregation a set of individuals express preferences over a set of alternatives, and these preferences have to be aggregated into a collective preference. When preferences are represented as orders, aggregation procedures are called social welfare functions. Classical results in social choice theory state that it is impossible to aggregate the preferences of a set of individuals under different natural sets of axiomatic conditions. We define a first-order language for social welfare functions and we give a complete (...) axiomatisation for this class, without having the number of individuals or alternatives specified in the language. We are able to express classical axiomatic requirements in our first-order language, giving formal axioms for three classical theorems of preference aggregation by Arrow, by Sen, and by Kirman and Sondermann. We explore to what extent such theorems can be formally derived from our axiomatisations, obtaining positive results for Sen’s Theorem and the Kirman-Sondermann Theorem. For the case of Arrow’s Theorem, which does not apply in the case of infinite societies, we have to resort to fixing the number of individuals with an additional axiom. In the long run, we hope that our approach to formalisation can serve as the basis for a fully automated proof of classical and new theorems in social choice theory. (shrink)
Although choice and preference are distinct categories, it may in some contexts be a useful idealization to treat choices as fully determined by preferences. In order to construct a general model of such preference-based choice, a method to derive choices from preferences is needed that yields reasonable outcomes for all preference relations, even those that are incomplete and contain cycles. A generalized choice function is introduced for this purpose. It is axiomatically characterized and is shown to compare (...) favourably with alternative constructions. (shrink)
A much discussed topic in the theory of choice is how a preference order among options can be derived from the assumption that the notion of ‘choice’ is primitive. Assuming a choice function that selects elements from each finite set of options, Arrow (Economica 26:121–127, 1959) already showed how we can generate a weak ordering by putting constraints on the behavior of such a function such that it reflects utility maximization. Arrow proposed that rational agents can be modeled by (...) such choice functions. Arrow’s standard model of rationality has been criticized in economics and gave rise to approaches of bounded rationality. Two standard assumptions of rationality will be given up in this paper. First, the idea that agents are utility optimizers (Simon). Second, the idea that the relation of ‘indifference’ gives rise to an equivalence relation. To account for the latter, Luce (Econometrica 24:178–191, 1956) introduced semi-orders. Extending some ideas of Van Benthem (Pac Philos Q 63:193–203, 1982), we will show how to derive semi-orders (and so-called interval orders) based on the idea that agents are utility satisficers rather than utility optimizers. (shrink)
In general, the technical apparatus of decision theory is well developed. It has loads of theorems, and they can be proved from axioms. Many of the theorems are interesting, and useful both from a philosophical and a practical perspective. But decision theory does not have a well agreed upon interpretation. Its technical terms, in particular, ‘utility’ and ‘preference’ do not have a single clear and uncontroversial meaning.How to interpret these terms depends, of course, on what purposes in pursuit of (...) which one wants to put decision theory to use. One might want to use it as a model of economic decision-making, in order to predict the behavior of corporations or of the stock market. In that case, it might be useful to interpret the technical term ‘utility’ as meaning money profit. Decision theory would then be an empirical theory. I want to look into the question of what ‘utility’ could mean, if we want decision theory to function as a theory of practical rationality. I want to know whether it makes good sense to think of practical rationality as fully or even partly accounted for by decision theory. I shall lay my cards on the table: I hope it does make good sense to think of it that way. For, I think, if Humeans are right about practical rationality, then decision theory must play a very large part in their account. And I think Humeanism has very strong attractions. (shrink)
An analysis is presented of the relationships between consumers ethical beliefs, ethical ideology, Machiavellianism, political preference and the individual difference variable "need for closure". It is based on a representative survey of 286 Belgian respondents. Standard measurement tools of proven reliability and robustness are used to measure ethical beliefs (consumer ethics scale), ethical ideology (ethical positioning), Machiavellianism (Mach IV scale) and need for closure. The analysis finds the following. First, individuals with a high need for closure tend to have (...) beliefs that are more ethical as regards possible consumer actions, and score higher on idealism and lower on Machiavellianism, than those with a low need for closure. Second, a correlation exists between political preference and ethical beliefs. Third, a significant relationship exists between ethical ideology and political preference for the two largest political parties. Fourth, individuals with a high and low need for closure have different political preferences for right-wing and left-wing parties. (shrink)
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 show that there are non-standard preference relations. Hence frameworks of Gert and Rabinowicz's type are either inadequate since there are cogent arguments for both non-standard value and preference relations and these frameworks deny this, or they lack support since the arguments for non-standard value relations are unconvincing. Instead, I propose a simpler framework that allows for both non-standard value and preference relations. (shrink)
Seidenfeld (Seidenfeld, T. [1988a], Decision theory without 'Independence' or without 'Ordering', Economics and Philosophy 4: 267-290) gave an argument for Independence based on a supposition that admissibility of a sequential option is preserved under substitution of indifferents at choice nodes (S). To avoid a natural complaint that (S) begs the question against a critic of Independence, he provided an independent proof of (S) in his (Seidenfeld, T. [1988b], Rejoinder [to Hammond and McClennen], Economics and Philosophy 4: 309-315). In reply to (...) my (Rabinowicz, W. , To have one's cake and eat it too: Sequential choice and expected-utility violations, The Journal of Philosophy 92: 586-620), in which I argue that the proof is invalid, Seidenfeld (Seidenfeld, T. , Substitution of indifferent options at choice nodes and admissibility: A reply to Rabinowicz, Theory and Decision 48: 305â310 this issue) submits that I fail to give due consideration to one of the underlying assumptions of his derivation: it is meant to apply only to those cases in which the agent's preferences are stable throughout the sequential decision process. The purpose of this note is to clarify the notion of preference stability so as meet this objection. (shrink)
According to evolutionary theory, emotions are psychological mechanisms that have evolved to enhance fitness in specific situations by motivating appropriate (adaptive) behavior. Taking this perspective, a previous study examined the relationship between mood and preference for natural environments. It reported that participants’ anxiety level was associated with a preference for landscapes offering what Appleton called "refuge," while participants’ anger and cheerfulness were both associated with a preference for landscapes offering what Appleton called "prospect." We attempted to replicate (...) these results and to improve on the study by experimentally manipulating mood. Using a between-subjects design, 80 participants were instructed to self-induce one of four moods: anger, sadness, anxiety, or joy. After the mood induction, they viewed fourteen landscape photographs and recorded the seven most preferred. It was hypothesized that subjects experiencing anger or joy would prefer landscapes rich in "prospect" features, whereas participants experiencing sadness or anxiety would prefer landscapes rich in "refuge" features. In contrast to the previous study, the predictions were not supported: artificially induced moods may not provide ecological validity as a test of the "mood as motivator" model; alternatively, the first study may have reported an alpha error. To see whether the model has practical value, we recommend a study of landscape preference using participants with clinically significant levels of mood dysphoria. (shrink)
This article proves that all complete preference structures where the strict preference relation (P) has no circuit admit a representation by intervals of the real line; the rule for deciding whether an interval is indifferent or preferred to another is less straightforward than for interval orders: strict preference is indeed compatible with a certain degree of overlapping of intervals, the allowed degree being specified by means of a so-called tolerance function.
The anti-Specker property, a constructive version of sequential compactness, is used to prove constructively that a pointwise continuous, order-dense preference relation on a compact metric space is uniformly sequentially continuous. It is then shown that Ishihara's principle BD-ℕ implies that a uniformly sequentially continuous, order-dense preference relation on a separable metric space is uniformly continuous. Converses of these two theorems are also proved.
In this paper we use a computational model to investigate four assumptions that are tacitly present in interpreting the results of studies on infants' speech processing abilities using the Headturn Preference Procedure (HPP): (1) behavioural differences originate in different processing; (2) processing involves some form of recognition; (3) words are segmented from connected speech; and (4) differences between infants should not affect overall results. In addition, we investigate the impact of two potentially important aspects in the design and execution (...) of the experiments: (a) the specific voices used in the two parts on HPP experiments (familiarisation and test) and (b) the experimenter's criterion for what is a sufficient headturn angle. The model is designed to be maximise cognitive plausibility. It takes real speech as input, and it contains a module that converts the output of internal speech processing and recognition into headturns that can yield real-time listening preference measurements. Internal processing is based on distributed episodic representations in combination with a matching procedure based on the assumptions that complex episodes can be decomposed as positive weighted sums of simpler constituents. Model simulations show that the first assumptions hold under two different definitions of recognition. However, explicit segmentation is not necessary to simulate the behaviours observed in infant studies. Differences in attention span between infants can affect the outcomes of an experiment. The same holds for the experimenter's decision criterion. The speakers used in experiments affect outcomes in complex ways that require further investigation. The paper ends with recommendations for future studies using the HPP. (shrink)
We study a Linear Axiom of Revealed Preference (LARP) that characterizes the consistency of a choice function with respect to a preference order satisfying the independence axiom. In addition, LARP characterizes lexicographic linear utility rationality when the choice space is a convex subset of a finite-dimensional real vector space, and LARP characterizes linear utility rationality when the choice space corresponds to a finite choice experiment.
A skew in sex ratio at birth occurs across much of Asia and North Africa. The resulting gender imbalance in favor of men in the adult population causes a number of serious social problems, including increased violence against women and an increasing number of “forced bachelors” in many areas. Here we concentrate on the sex ratio at birth in China and model two causal factors specific to Chinese culture: a traditional preference for sons over daughters and a preference (...) for brides to move to their husband’s natal home (virilocal marriage). We use cultural niche construction models to explore the interacting effect of both son preference and marriage-type preference on the demography of the region. Finally, we discuss the implications of this model for policy interventions in the future. (shrink)
It is shown that a fundamental question of revealed preference theory, namely whether the weak axiom of revealed preference (WARP) implies the strong axiom of revealed preference (SARP), can be reduced to a Hamiltonian cycle problem: A set of bundles allows a preference cycle of irreducible length if and only if the convex monotonic hull of these bundles admits a Hamiltonian cycle. This leads to a new proof to show that preference cycles can be of (...) arbitrary length for more than two but not for two commodities. For this, it is shown that a set of bundles satisfying the given condition exists if and only if the dimension of the commodity space is at least three. Preference cycles can be constructed by embedding a cyclic $(L-1)$ -polytope into a facet of a convex monotonic hull in $L$ -space, because cyclic polytopes always admit Hamiltonian cycles. An immediate corollary is that WARP only implies SARP for two commodities. The proof is intuitively appealing as this gives a geometric interpretation of preference cycles. (shrink)
Since Varian (Econometrica 50:945–973, 1982; Review of Economic Studies 50:90–110, 1983) made checking for consistency with revealed preference conditions more accessible to empirical researchers; researchers have often used revealed preference procedures to test their maintained hypotheses and narrow the scope of their demand studies. The tests developed by Varian are for the direct utility function, while researchers estimating demand systems often find it convenient to model consumer behavior with an indirect utility function. Unfortunately structure revealed in the direct (...) utility function does not necessarily follow for the indirect utility function. To remedy this problem, we set forth conditions for checking consumer data for consistency with revealed preference conditions for minimization and weak separability of the indirect utility function. (shrink)
Most of us have two strong intuitions (or sets of intuitions) in relation to fairness in health care systems that are funded by public money, whether through taxation or compulsory insurance. The first intuition is that such a system has to treat patients (and other users) fairly, equitably, impartially, justly and without discrimination. The second intuition is that doctors, nurses and other health care professionals are allowed to, and may even in some cases be obligated to give preference to (...) the interests of their particular patients or clients over the interests of other patients or clients of the system. These two intuitions are in potential conflict. One of the most obvious ways in which to ensure impartiality in a health care system is to require impartiality of all actors in the system, i.e. to give health care professionals a duty to treat everyone impartially and to deny them the ‘right’ to give their patients preferential treatment. And one of the possible side-effects of allowing individual health care professionals to give preference to ‘their clients’ is to create inequality in health care. This paper explores the conflict and proposes that it can be right to give preference to ‘your’ patients in certain circumstances. (shrink)
This paper proposes a two-level modeling perspective which combines intrinsic 'betterness' and reason-based extrinsic preference, and develops its static and dynamic logic in tandem. Our technical results extend, integrate, and re-interpret earlier theorems on preference representation and update in the literature on preference change.
Lonely hearts advertisements (LHA) published in Japan were examined in a comparative study on sexually dimorphic mate preference. I analyzed 944 LHA written by Japanese (730 by males and 214 by females) seeking short-term relationships and 780 LHA (577 by males and 203 by females) seeking long-term relationships. Some universal patterns of mate preference were confirmed and others were not. Female advertisers in both categories sought more traits than they offered; they also sought more traits than male advertisers. (...) Males tended to offer their financial and social status, and females tended to seek those traits. More females requested family commitment than males. While there was no sex difference in offering and seeking physical appearance and health, females tended to request photographs of their potential mates. Males were more likely than females to be willing to accept children from previous relationships, although there was no significant difference in refusing such children. More females seeking long-term mates requested family commitment than females seeking short-term mates. In both males and females, more advertisers seeking long-term mates offered family commitment than advertisers seeking short-term mates. Some predictions for contingent preference were also examined. One prediction confirmed was that females offering physical appearance and health sought more traits than those not doing so. However, males offering financial and social status did not make higher demands than those who did not, which does not support one prediction. (shrink)
Adolescence is often described as a period of heightened risk-taking. Adolescents are notorious for impulsivity, emotional volatility, and risky behaviors such as drinking under the influence of alcohol. By contrast, we found that risk-taking declines linearly from childhood to adulthood when individuals make choices over monetary gambles. Further, with age we found increases in the sensitivity to economic risk, defined as the degree to which a preference for assured monetary gains over a risky payoff depends upon the variability in (...) the risky payoff. These findings indicate that decisions about economic risk may follow a different developmental trajectory than other kinds of risk taking, and that changes in sensitivity to risk may be a major factor in the development of mature risk aversion. (shrink)
This paper is concerned with the efficiency of information aggregation in a committee whose members have heterogeneous preferences over a binary decision variable. We study a voting game with a pre-vote communication stage and identify conditions under which full information aggregation is possible. In particular, if preferences are common knowledge and each committee member is endowed with information, full information aggregation is possible despite preference heterogeneity.
Attention is a key process used to conceptualize and define modes of thought, but we lack information on the role of specific attentional processes on preferential choice and memory in multi-attribute decision making. In this study, we examine the role of attention based on two dimensions, attentional scope and load on choice preference strength and memory using a paradigm that arguably elicits unconscious thought. Scope of attention was manipulated by using global or local processing during distraction (Experiment 1) and (...) before the information encoding stage (Experiment 2). Load was manipulated by using the n-back task in Experiment 1. Results from Experiment 1 show that global processing or distributed attention during distraction results in stronger preference irrespective of load but better memory only at low cognitive load. Task difficulty or load did not have any effect on preference or memory. In Experiment 2, distributed attention before attribute encoding facilitated only memory but did not influence preference. Results show that attentional processes at different stages of processing like distraction and information-encoding influence decision making processes. Scope of attention not only influences preference and memory but the manner in which attentional scope influences them depends on both load and stage of information processing. The results indicate the important role of attention in processes critical for decision making and calls for a re-evaluation of the unconscious thought theory (UTT) and the need for reconceptualizing the role of attention. (shrink)
Normative theories suggest that inconsistencies be pointed out to the Decision Maker who is thus given the chance to modify his/her judgments. In this paper, we suggest that the inconsistencies problem be transferred from the Decision Maker to the Analyst. With the Mixture of Maximal Quasi Orders, rather than pointing out incoherences for the Decision Maker to change, these inconsistencies may be used as new source of information to model his/her preferences.
This article explores rationalizability issues for finite sets of observations of stochastic choice in the framework introduced by Bandyopadhyay et al. (Journal of Economic Theory, 84(1), 95–110, 1999). It is argued that a useful approach is to consider indirect preferences on budgets instead of direct preferences on commodity bundles. A new rationalizability condition for stochastic choices, “rationalizable in terms of stochastic orderings on the normalized price space” (rsop), is defined. rsop is satisfied if and only if there exists a solution (...) to a linear feasibility problem. The existence of a solution also implies rationalizability in terms of stochastic orderings on the commodity space. Furthermore it is shown that the problem of finding sufficiency conditions for binary choice probabilities to be rationalizable bears similarities to the problem considered here. (shrink)
Infant facial characteristics may affect discriminative parental solicitude because they convey information about the health of the offspring. We examined the effect of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) infant facial characteristics on hypothetical adoption preferences, ratings of attractiveness, and ratings of health. As expected, potential parents were more likely to adopt “normal” infants, and they rated the FAS infants as less attractive and less healthy. Cuteness/attractiveness was the best predictor of adoption likelihood.
The behavior of individuals currently living will generally have long-term consequences that affect the well-being of those who will come to live in the future. Intergenerational interdependencies of this nature raise difficult moral issues because only the current generation is in a position to decide on actions that will determine the nature of the world in which future generations will live. Although most are willing to attach some weight to the interests of future generations, many would argue that it is (...) not necessary to treat these interests as equivalent to those of the current generation. A common approach in this context is to use a system of discounting to evaluate future benefits and harms. This paper assesses the logic of discounting drawing on the writings of economists and philosophers. Much of the economic literature concerns the choice of an appropriate social discount rate. The social discount rate can be taken to reflect beliefs about the rights of future generations, a subject that has been extensively debated in the phioosophic literature. The writings of both economists and philosophers concerned with the weight to attach to the interests of future generations are reviewed and evaluated in this paper and the implications for environmental policy are discussed. (shrink)
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 (...) necessary for the revelation of linear utility. (shrink)
We interpret solution rules on a class of simple allocation problems as data on the choices of a policy maker. We analyze conditions under which the policy maker’s choices are (i) rational (ii) transitive-rational, and (iii) representable; that is, they coincide with maximization of a (i) binary relation, (ii) transitive binary relation, and (iii) numerical function on the allocation space. Our main results are as follows: (i) a well-known property, contraction independence (a.k.a. IIA) is equivalent to rationality; (ii) every contraction (...) independent and other-c monotonic rule is transitive-rational; and (iii) every contraction independent and other-c monotonic rule, if additionally continuous, can be represented by a numerical function. (shrink)