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Becker’s thesis and three models of preference change

Bradley, Richard ORCID: 0000-0003-2184-7844 (2009) Becker’s thesis and three models of preference change. Politics, Philosophy & Economics, 8 (2). pp. 223-242. ISSN 1470-594X

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Identification Number: 10.1177/1470594X09102238


This article examines Becker's thesis that the hypothesis that choices maximize expected utility relative to fixed and universal tastes provides a general framework for the explanation of behaviour. Three different models of preference revision are presented and their scope evaluated. The first, the classical conditioning model, explains all changes in preferences in terms of changes in the information held by the agent, holding fundamental beliefs and desires fixed. The second, the Jeffrey conditioning model, explains them in terms of changes in both the information held by the agent and changes in her prior beliefs, holding her fundamental desires fixed. The final model, that of generalized conditioning, allows for explanations in terms of changes in the values of all three variables.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Divisions: CPNSS
Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2009 14:01
Last Modified: 10 Jun 2024 20:06

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