I want in this paper to do two things. First, I want to respond to some studies that argue that people are often not rational: that people regularly and systematically depart from rationality. The conclusion itself does not worry me. I pressed for the same in a recent book. But the arguments seem to me wrong, and wrong in an interesting way. There may be something to be learned from seeing how and why they fail.
This is an important new book about human motivation, about the reasons people have for their actions. What is distinctively new about it is its focus on how people see or understand their situations, options, and prospects. By taking account of people's understandings, Professor Schick is able to expand the current theory of decision and action. The author provides a perspective on the topic by outlining its history. He defends his new theory against criticism, considers its formal structure, and (...) shows at length how it resolves many currently debated problems: the problems of conflict and weakness of will, Allais' problem, Kahneman and Tversky's problems, Newcomb's problem, and others. The book will be of special interest to philosophers, psychologists, and economists. (shrink)
This book is a unique introductory overview of decision theory. It is completely non-technical, without a single formula in the book. Written in a crisp and clear style it succinctly covers the full range of philosophical issues of rationality and decision theory, including game theory, social choice theory, prisoner's dilemma and much else. The book aims to expand the scope and enrich the foundations of decision theory. By addressing such issues as ambivalence, inner conflict, and the constraints imposed upon us (...) by our attachments to others, Frederic Schick reveals that our thinking is often more subtle than standard theories of rationality allow. Only a theory that respects that subtlety can illumine what is otherwise puzzling. The book contains many examples drawn from history and literature dealing with subjects such as love, war, friendship, and crime. (shrink)
In this book Frederic Schick develops his challenge to standard decision theory. He argues that talk of the beliefs and desires of an agent is not sufficient to explain choices. To account for a given choice we need to take into consideration how the agent understands the problem, how he sees in a selective way the options open to him. The author applies his new logic to a host of common human predicaments. Why do people in choice experiments act (...) so often against expectations? Why do people cooperate in situations where textbook logic predicts that they won't? What exactly is weakness of will? What are people reporting when they say their lives have no meaning for them? This book questions the foundations of technical and philosophical decision theory and will appeal to all those who work in that field, be they philosophers, economists and psychologists. (shrink)
This book, first published in 1997, is an introductory overview of decision theory. It is completely non-technical, without a single formula in the book. Written in a crisp and clear style it succinctly covers the full range of philosophical issues of rationality and decision theory, including game theory, social choice theory, prisoner's dilemma and much else. The book aims to expand the scope and enrich the foundations of decision theory. By addressing such issues as ambivalence, inner conflict, and the constraints (...) imposed upon us by our attachments to others, Frederic Schick reveals that our thinking is often more subtle than standard theories of rationality allow. Only a theory that respects that subtlety can illumine what is otherwise puzzling. The book contains many examples drawn from history and literature dealing with subjects such as love, war, friendship, and crime. (shrink)
Levi’s work in decision theory has for many years been a major influence on the field. His writings have raised important new issues and opened new lines of inquiry. This collection of his papers brings out the range of his recent studies and the close bearing of his work on the work of others.
The philosophical enterprise -- The mind-body problem -- Free will and determinism -- The problem of personal identity -- The problem of relativism and morality -- The problem of evil and the existence of god -- The problem of skepticism and knowledge.
This paper explores the ways in which a fuller attention to suffering in the tradition of the early Frankfurt School might valuably inform international political thought. Recent poststructural writing argues that trauma is silenced to prevent it disrupting narratives of order and progress and instead advocates a continual ‘encircling’ of trauma that refuses incorporation into a broader historical narrative. This paper welcomes this challenge to mainstream international ethics: attention to particular suffering provides an important challenge to the abstraction, instrumentalism and (...) universalism of modernity. However, if we simply mark trauma and refuse to incorporate it into any kind of narrative, we cannot profit from the ways in which suffering can illuminate the structures and ways of thinking that create it. Drawing on Adorno's negative dialectics, the paper argues that a dialectical understanding of the relationship between universalising order and disrupting particularity can lead from individual suffering towards a political re-engagement with the universal. (shrink)
The debate over compensation packages for top executives is discussed. Particular emphasis is placed on the decoupling of CEO pay and organizational performance. A contrast is drawn between firms that are owner-controlled and those that are manager-controlled. Owner-controlled firms tend to be more market-driven. In manager-controlled firms, however, ownership can become diluted to the point where decisions may not always be in the best interest of shareholders. The process of determining CEO compensation packages is examined, and special attention is given (...) to the handling of stock options. In order to stem the threat of increased government intervention, suggestions are made for increasing the leverage of compensation committees and of shareholders in general. (shrink)
The correspondence theory of truth has often been attacked on the grounds that the notion of correspondence is too vague to do any serious philosophical work. More recently it has been attacked on the grounds that the sort of correspondence required by the theory does not exist.I argue, on the contrary, that there are no compelling reasons for believing that the requisite sort of correspondence does not exist and that the notion of correspondence can be made clear enough to yield (...) an adequate theory of truth. After critically examining Tarkski’s theory of truth, Ishow how a correspondence theory which applies to the statements of any language can be constructed. Then Davidson’s claim that all true statements correspond to the same thing and Putnam’s claim that there is no fact of the matter concerning what the terms of a language correspond to are shown to be untenable. (shrink)
Some writers have noted that valuation is often focused on foreseen changes. They say that we often don't value situations in terms of what we would have in them only but also in terms of the gains or losses that they offer us — that we then focus on departures from our status quo. They argue that such thinking conflicts with basic economic analysis, and also that it violates logic: they say that it is irrational. I agree that it seems (...) to be common. But is such a way of setting one's values a challenge to economics? And does it conflict with being rational? (shrink)
This paper is a critique of Kenneth Arrow's thesis concerning the logical impossibility of a constitution. I argue that one of the premises of Arrow's proof, that of the transitivity of indifference, is untenable. Several concepts of preference are introduced and counter-instances are offered to the transitivity of indifference defined along the standard lines in terms of these concepts. Alternate analyses of indifference in terms of preference are considered, and it is shown that these do not serve Arrow's purposes either. (...) Finally, it is argued that in the single special case in which indifference could plausibly be held to be transitive, Arrow's thesis is innocuous. (shrink)