Individual Utility in a Context of Asymetric Sensitivity to Pleasure and Pain: An Interpretation of Bentham's Felicific Calculus
AbstractThis paper aims at exploring, in a formal way, Bentham's statement that “the pleasure of gaining is not equal to the evil of losing”, which belongs to those aspects of the principle of utility left aside by Jevon's reconstruction. Consequently, the agent's preference order will be viewed as depending on his initial situation, and on asymmetric sensitivity to gains and losses, relative to this situation. This leads i) to discuss the coexistence of multiple preference orders, illustrated by Bentham's analysis of the optimal labour contract, and ii) to introduce true deliberation as a consequence of the gap between positive choice and rival assessments of utility.
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Date of creation: 2000
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Publication status: Published, European Journal of the History of Economic Thought, 2000, 7, 1, 45-78
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Bentham; endogeneous preferences; individual utility; pain and pleasure; preference reversal; utilitarianism; préférences endogènes; utilité individuelle; peine et plaisir; inversion de préférences; utilitarisme;
Other versions of this item:
- Andr Lapidus & Nathalie Sigot, 2000. "Individual utility in a context of asymmetric sensitivity to pleasure and pain: an interpretation of Bentham's felicific calculus," The European Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 7(1), pages 45-78.
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