What We Choose, What We Prefer
Originally published in Synthese
This paper develops an account of what it is that rational agents choose and what it is that rational agents prefer. There are three desiderata to satisfy when offering such an account. First, the account should maintain canonical axioms of rational choice theory as intuitively plausible. Here I focus on contraction and expansion consistency properties. Second, the account should prevent canonical axioms of rational choice theory from becoming trivial—it should be possible to actually violate these axioms, less rational choice theory becomes useless for many purposes. Third, the account should allow rational choice theory to be put to several different philosophical projects. I show that existing accounts of what we choose and prefer fail along at least one of these metrics. The account I develop does not fail across any of these metrics.