Preferences Vs. Desires: Debating the Fundamental Structure of Conative States

Economics and Philosophy 31 (2):239-257 (2015)
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Abstract

Abstract:I address an overlooked question about the structure of the cognitive/conative model of the mind that underlies much of the work in economics, psychology and philosophy: namely, whether conative states are fundamentally monistic (desire-like) or comparative (preference-like). I argue that two seemingly promising sets of theoretical considerations – namely, the structure of Rational Choice Theory, and considerations of computational efficiency – are unable to resolve this debate. Given this, I suggest that a consideration that speaks in favour of the preference-based view is the fact that it makes it easier to explain certain empirically observed patterns in decision making.

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Armin W. Schulz
University of Kansas

References found in this work

The Foundations of Statistics.Leonard J. Savage - 1956 - Philosophy of Science 23 (2):166-166.
The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.Edward N. Zalta (ed.) - 2014 - Stanford, CA: The Metaphysics Research Lab.

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