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Why Rationality May Be a Consequence of Hume's Theory of Choice


  • 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)


Facing R. Sugden's criticism of our interpretation, it is shown in this paper that rationality appears as a possible consequence of Hume's theory of choice. We first argue that Sugden's dismissal of the preference relation from the type of rationality through which Hume's theory is apprehended, is highly disputable, from the point of view of both standard choice theory and Hume's theory of passions. Nonetheless, Sugden's criterion of rationality might be restated in Humean terms as a condition of non-revision of preferences in the dynamics of passions. But, since the process of choice that we have described explicitly takes into account the revision of preferences, and shows that, when this last is no longer required, rationality occurs as an outcome of this process, it is not really concerned by Sugden's criticism.

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  • Marc-Arthur Diaye & André Lapidus, 2005. "Why Rationality May Be a Consequence of Hume's Theory of Choice," Post-Print hal-00343872, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:journl:hal-00343872
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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Sugden, Robert, 1991. "Rational Choice: A Survey of Contributions from Economics and Philosophy," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 101(407), pages 751-785, July.
    2. Sugden, Robert, 1985. "Why Be Consistent? A Critical Analysis of Consistency Requirements in Choice Theory," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 52(206), pages 167-183, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. Marc-Arthur Diaye & André Lapidus, 2016. "Decision and Time from a Humean Point of View," Working Papers hal-01372527, HAL.
    3. Laurie Bréban, 2017. "An Investigation into the Smithian System of Sympathy: from Cognition to Emotion," Working Papers hal-01467340, HAL.


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