Analyse & Kritik

Journal of Philosophy and Social Theory


"Tapas Majumdar"

Titel: The Rationality of Changing Choice
Autor: Tapas Majumdar
Seite: 172-178

Abstract: Economists are used to associate the rationality of individual choice behaviour with simple and unchanging individual preference patterns, typically predicting unique behavioural outcomes in a choice situation - leaving little room for probing apparent inconsistencies (except in situations of game-theoretic stratagems used by the choosers), and no provision for analysing genuine dilemmas. The paper comments on the (in this respect) richer contents of two recent extensions of the concept of rational choice: the first involved in Sen's theory of meta-ranking, and the second implied in Scitovsky's distinction between "pleasure" and "comfort" as the two constituents of the state of individual welfare. The paper then proceeds to suggest a somewhat similar extension of rationality implied, it is argued, in tht idea of"development" or "becoming" as part of a chosen, distinct, and articulated process involved, specifically, in education, or more vaguely, in "modernisation". The emerging concept of rationality which permits of changes in individual preference patterns consistently, in steps, and in a direction initiated and chosen by the individual himself, is claimed in the paper to be more appropriate for the analysis of choice situations likely to be encountered by rational individuals in a complex developing society. The consistency conditions for individual behaviour permitted by such rich, "directional", rationality have, however, yet to be specified.

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