Individual utility in a context of asymmetric sensitivity to pleasure and pain: an interpretation of Bentham's felicific calculus
This 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 Jevons' 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 1) to discuss the coexistence of multiple preference orders, illustrated by Bentham's analysis of the optimal labour contract; and 2) to introduce true deliberation as a consequence of the gap between positive choice and rival assessments of utility.
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Volume (Year): 7 (2000)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
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