What Preferences Really Are

Philosophy of Science, Forthcoming

35 Pages Posted: 18 Apr 2018

See all articles by Erik Angner

Erik Angner

Department of Philosophy, Stockholm University; Institute for Futures Studies; Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science

Date Written: April 16, 2018


Daniel M. Hausman holds that preferences in economics are total subjective comparative evaluations – subjective judgments to the effect that something is better than something else all things told – and that economists are right to employ this conception of preference. Here, I argue against both parts of Hausman’s thesis. The failure of Hausman’s account, I continue, reflects a deeper problem, viz., that preferences in economics do not need an explicit definition of the kind that he seeks. Nonetheless, Hausman’s labors were not in vain: his accomplishment is that he has articulated a useful model of the theory.

Keywords: Preferences, Utility, Welfare

JEL Classification: B21, B41

Suggested Citation

Angner, Erik, What Preferences Really Are (April 16, 2018). Philosophy of Science, Forthcoming , Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3163417 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3163417

Erik Angner (Contact Author)

Department of Philosophy, Stockholm University ( email )

Universitetsvägen 10 D
Stockholm, 106 91

HOME PAGE: http://erikangner.com

Institute for Futures Studies ( email )

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Stockholm, SE-101 31

HOME PAGE: http://www.iffs.se/en/research/researchers/erik-angner-1/

Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science ( email )

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George Mason University
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United States

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