Hume's non-instrumental and non-propositional decision theory

Sugden, R. (2006) Hume's non-instrumental and non-propositional decision theory. Economics and Philosophy, 22 (3). pp. 365-391. ISSN 0266-2671

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Hume is often read as proposing an instrumental theory of decision, in which an agent's choices are rational if they maximally satisfy her desires, given her beliefs. In fact, Hume denies that rationality can be attributed to actions. I argue that this is not a gap needing to be filled. Hume's theory provides a coherent and self-contained understanding of action, compatible with current developments in experimental psychology and behavioural economics. On Hume's account, desires are primitive psychological motivations which do not have propositional content, and so are not subject to the criteria of rational consistency which apply to propositions.

Item Type: Article
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Economics
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Depositing User: Pure Connector
Date Deposited: 19 Nov 2013 16:14
Last Modified: 24 Oct 2022 05:04
DOI: 10.1017/S0266267106001027

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