Voorhoeve, Alex (2007) Heuristics and biases in a purported counterexample to the acyclicity of "better than". LSE Choice Group working paper series, vol. 3, no. 2. The Centre for Philosophy of Natural and Social Science (CPNSS), London, UK.
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Stuart Rachels and Larry Temkin have offered a purported counterexample to the acyclicity of the relationship “all things considered better than”. This example invokes our intuitive preferences over pairs of alternatives involving a single person’s painful experiences of varying intensity and duration. These preferences, Rachels and Temkin claim, are confidently held, entirely reasonable, and cyclical. They conclude that we should drop acyclicity as a requirement of rationality. I argue that, together with the findings of recent research on the way people evaluate episodes of pain, the use of a heuristic known as similarity-based decision-making explains why our intuitive preferences may violate acyclicity in this example. I argue that this explanation should lead us to regard these preferences with suspicion, because it indicates that they may be the result of one or more biases. I conclude that Rachels’ and Temkin’s example does not provide sufficient grounds for rejecting acyclicity.
|Item Type:||Monograph (Working Paper)|
|Additional Information:||© 2007 Alex Voorhoeve|
|Library of Congress subject classification:||B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)|
|Sets:||Research centres and groups > LSE Choice Group
Departments > Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method
|Identification Number:||vol. 3, no. 2|
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