La rationalité du choix passionnel : En quête de l'héritage de David Hume
AbstractThe question of choice, in Hume's works, lies within the more general framework of the theory of passions. These lead towards desire, aversion and volition, and require reason, as a cognitive faculty, in order to build the set of objects on which our preferences are defined, and to determine its properties. Governed by pleasure and pain, this device nonetheless allows discrepancies between the relation of pleasure and the relation of preference, as shown by the examples of indiscrimination and intertemporal choice. This discrepancy is explained by Hume's distinction between pleasure as a feeling and pleasure as an idea, the ' force and vividness' of which determines action. The question of choice in uncertainty is derived from the discussion of the ‘mixed' passions of hope and of fear. On first view, Hume's writings seem to give credit to their interpretation in terms of expected utility. Nonetheless, both the mental process, of which the judgement of probability is an outcome, and the dynamics of passions, invite us to reconsider this impression: the connection between Hume's approach and expected utility is justified only to the extent that it lays down a norm, face to which possible variations are explained by the imaginative and passionate processes which gave them birth.
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Date of creation: 2000
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Publication status: Published, L'Année sociologique, 2000, 50, 1, 9-84
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Hume; passions; rational choice; individual behaviour; economic theory; choix rationnel ; comportement individuel ; théorie économique;
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