The Talmud On Transitivity
Transitivity is a fundamental axiom in Economics that appears in consumer theory, decision under uncertainty, and social choice theory. While the appeal of transitivity is obvious, observed choices sometimes contradict it. This paper shows that treatments of violations of transitivity al- ready appear in the rabbinic literature, starting with the Mishnah and the Talmud (1st–5th c CE). This literature offers several solutions that are similar to those used in the modern economic literature, as well as some other solutions that may be adopted in modern situations. We analyze several examples. One where nontransitive relations are acceptable; one where a violation of transitivity leads to problems with extended choice functions; and a third where a nontransitive cycle is deliberately created (to enhance justice).
|Date of creation:||23 Jun 2008|
|Date of revision:||04 Sep 2009|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: Boston College, 140 Commonwealth Avenue, Chestnut Hill MA 02467 USA|
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