Individual Utility in a Context of Asymetric 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 Jevon's 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 i) to discuss the coexistence of multiple preference orders, illustrated by Bentham's analysis of the optimal labour contract, and ii) to introduce true deliberation as a consequence of the gap between positive choice and rival assessments of utility.
|Date of creation:||2000|
|Publication status:||Published in European Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Taylor & Francis (Routledge), 2000, 7 (1), pp.45-78|
|Note:||View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://hal-paris1.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-00344899|
|Contact details of provider:|| Web page: https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/|
References listed on IDEAS
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- Milton Friedman & L. J. Savage, 1948. "The Utility Analysis of Choices Involving Risk," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 56, pages 279-279.
- Machina, Mark J, 1987. "Choice under Uncertainty: Problems Solved and Unsolved," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 1(1), pages 121-154, Summer.
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