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A Humean Theory of Choice of which Rationality May Be One Consequence


  • Marc-Arthur Diaye

    () (Centre d'Etude de l'Emploi - UEVE - Université d'Évry-Val-d'Essonne)

  • André Lapidus

    () (PHARE - Pôle d'Histoire de l'Analyse et des Représentations Economiques - UP1 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - UPN - Université Paris Nanterre - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)


For the reader who considers economic theory of choice as a special case of a more general theory of action, Hume's discussion of the determinants of action in the Treatise of Human Nature (1739-1740), in the Enquiry on Human Understanding (1748), and in the Dissertation on Passions (1757), deserves attention. However, according to some modern commentators, Hume does not seem to have given any evidence which would favour what we nowadays consider as the kind of rationality involved in modern theories of rational choice. On the contrary, this paper arrives to the conclusion that consistency between preferences and choice, like the usual properties of completeness and transitivity, may be considered as outcomes of a mental process, described by means of a decision algorithm which aims at representing Hume's theory of choice.

Suggested Citation

  • Marc-Arthur Diaye & André Lapidus, 2005. "A Humean Theory of Choice of which Rationality May Be One Consequence," Post-Print hal-00343841, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:journl:hal-00343841
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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Simon, Herbert A, 1978. "Rationality as Process and as Product of Thought," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 68(2), pages 1-16, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Andre Lapidus, 2010. "The valuation of decision and individual welfare: a Humean approach," The European Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 17(1), pages 1-28.
    2. André Lapidus, 2011. "The Possibility of a Welfare Policy in a World of Emotion-Driven Individuals: A Humean Point of View," Post-Print hal-00538106, HAL.
    3. Marc-Arthur Diaye & André Lapidus, 2016. "Decision and Time from a Humean Point of View," Working Papers hal-01372527, HAL.
    4. Marc-Arthur Diaye & André Lapidus, 2012. "Pleasure and belief in Hume's Decision Process," The European Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 19(3), pages 355-384, July.
    5. Laurie Bréban, 2017. "An Investigation into the Smithian System of Sympathy: from Cognition to Emotion," Working Papers hal-01467340, HAL.


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