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Johanna Thoma (LSE): “In Defence of Preference Cycles”
25 April, 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm
Abstract: I argue that acyclicity of preference cannot be defended as a general requirement of instrumental rationality. The standard instrumentalist defence of the requirement to have acyclical preferences, namely the money pump argument, relies on a fatal equivocation about the standard of instrumental rationality. Instead, I show that on the most plausible view of the standard of instrumental rationality, acyclicity can be justified as a conditional requirement of instrumental rationality: It turns out to be a requirement of instrumental rationality for agents who have a desire to have choice dispositions that are stable over time and across different choice contexts. For the rest of us, instrumental rationality is more permissive.
Johanna Thoma is an Assistant Professor in LSE’s Department of Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method.