Discussion Questions on Rationality (1)

Questions on pp. 45-51 of EAMPPP

1. What role does the notion of "preference" play in folk psychology? What is the difference between preference and desire?

2. Do preferences depend on beliefs? Give examples if you can of preferences that depend on beliefs and preferences that do not depend on beliefs.

3. What is a "choice"?

4. What does it mean to say that preferences are complete and transitive? Is it true that people's preferences are in fact complete and transitive? Is there a failure of rationality if someone's preferences are not both complete and transitive?

5. What is the difference between the theory of revealed preference and the claim that the only evidence for preference consists of action (including speech)?

6. What if anything is objectionable about the theory of revealed preference? What is attractive about the theory of revealed preference?


Questions on pp. 21-29 of Gauthier:

1.  What in Gauthier's view is the difference between a preference ranking and a ranking of alternatives in terms of their value? Why do we need to be interested in value?  Why not focus exclusively on preferences?

2.  Why, according to Gauthier, do we not explain preferences in terms of utility?  Is what he says consistent with what is said in Chapter 4 of EAMPPP?

3.  In Gauthier's view can we rationally appraise a preference for X over Y?  If so, how?

4.  What's the difference between the attitudinal aspect of preference and the behavioral aspect of preference? What should we think when these two aspects conflict?