Philosophical Studies 57 (1):61-77 (1989)

Margaret Gilbert
University of California, Irvine
A number of authors, Including Thomas Schelling and David Lewis, have envisaged a model of the generation of action in coordination problems in which salience plays a crucial role. Empirical studies suggest that human subjects are likely to try for the salient combination of actions, a tendency leading to fortunate results. Does rationality dictate that one aim at the salient combination? Some have thought so, Thus proclaiming that salience is all that is needed to resolve coordination problems for agents who are rational in the sense of game theory. I argue against this position; rational agents will not necessarily aim for the salient. It remains to explain how the salient comes to be chosen by human beings. Various possibilities are noted. One involves a mechanism invoked by Hume and Wittgenstein in other contexts: we may project an unreasoned compulsion onto reason, falsely believing that rationality dictates our choice of the salient.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/BF00355662
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 51,508
External links

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

Virtue and Reason.John McDowell - 1979 - The Monist 62 (3):331-350.
Meaning.Stephen Schiffer - 1972 - Oxford, Clarendon Press.
Languages and Language.David K. Lewis - 1975 - In Keith Gunderson (ed.), Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science. University of Minnesota Press. pp. 3-35.

View all 12 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Why Change the Subject? On Collective Epistemic Agency.András Szigeti - 2015 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 6 (4):843-864.

View all 23 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles


Added to PP index

Total views
74 ( #124,993 of 2,330,902 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #589,142 of 2,330,902 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes