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Hume'S Non-Instrumental And Non-Propositional Decision Theory

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  • SUGDEN, ROBERT

Abstract

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.

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  • Sugden, Robert, 2006. "Hume'S Non-Instrumental And Non-Propositional Decision Theory," Economics and Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 22(03), pages 365-391, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:ecnphi:v:22:y:2006:i:03:p:365-391_00
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    1. repec:gam:jgames:v:8:y:2017:i:4:p:43-:d:114809 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Guilhem Lecouteux, 2013. "Reconciling behavioural and neoclassical economics," Working Papers hal-00819763, HAL.
    3. repec:eee:jeborg:v:143:y:2017:i:c:p:223-240 is not listed on IDEAS

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