The science of rational choice includes both research on the abstract conditions (or norms) governing human rationality and research that seeks to explain and predict outcomes assuming rational agency. There are two views on whether the theory simply represents a descriptive means to model behaviour without presupposing that agents actually reason in accordance with the theory or whether instead it actually describes the decision rules manifested by rational agency. Researchers upholding the first view generally are content to use the axioms of rational choice to model actions and predict outcomes. The second view maintains that rational actors exhibit purposive action consistent with the behavioral norms of rational choice. The first view is modest by not suggesting anything about the internal thought processes of agents, and the second view upholds rational choice theory as a theory that describes the normative foundations of rational decision making. Rational choice theory is a fundamental element of game theory, which provides a mathematical framework for analyzing individuals’ mutually interdependent interactions.

That is, themain question of interest is what criteria an agent’s preferenceattitudes should satisfy in any genericcircumstances. This amounts to a minimal accountof rationality, one that sets aside more substantialquestions about appropriate values and preferences, and reasonablebeliefs, given the situation at hand. The orthodox normative decisiontheory, expected utility (EU) theory, essentially says that,in situations of uncertainty, one should prefer the option withgreatest expected desirability or value.

However, ≽B does not necessarily satisfy transitivity of strict preference,transitivity of indifference, IP- or PI-transitivity. The first defines analternative X as “at least as good as” analternative Y if and only if X is chosen from someset of alternatives that also contains Y. Today, itserves to derive preference orderings from an agent’s observedchoices, and to test the empirical validity of the preference axiomsby testing for the violation of choice axioms (Grüne-Yanoff2004).

## 2 On separability: Risk and regret attitudes

Mothers who had not had any say in the decision-making process described feelings of resentment and guilt, even if considerable time had elapsed since the gastrostomy placement (Brotherton & Abbott, 2012). Although little research has examined the quality of couples’ interactions as they make decisions together, research from the collaborative problem-solving and coping literature is useful in understanding features of interactions that can affect liabilities examples decision outcomes. In general, highly satisfied couples’ interactions are characterized by higher levels of warmth and support and lower levels of criticism, hostility, and withdrawal (Fincham, 2003). Further, compared to middle-aged couples, older couples’ interactions are characterized by fewer negative and more positive characteristics (Henry et al., 2007; Levenson, Carstensen, & Gottman, 1993).

## 2 Involvement preferred by parents

The logic of preference has often also been used to representsuch objective evaluations (e.g. Broome 1991b), but the substantialnotion of preference includes this subjective element. Expected utility theory has been criticised for not allowing forvalue interactions between outcomes in different, mutuallyincompatible states of the world. For instance, recall that whendeciding between two risky options you should, according toSavage’s version of the theory, ignore the states of the worldwhere the two options result in the same outcome. That seems veryreasonable if we can assume separability between outcomes indifferent states of the world; i.e., if the contribution that anoutcome in one state of the world makes towards the overall value ofan option is independent of what other outcomes the option mightresult in. For then identical outcomes (with equal probabilities)should cancel each other out in a comparison of two options, whichwould entail that if two options share an outcome in some state of theworld, then when comparing the options, it does not matter what thatshared outcome is. Nevertheless, it does seem that an argument canbe made that any reasonable person will satisfy this axiom.

## 1 Savage’s theory

There arealso more limited criticisms of Bayesian decision theory, notably,those motivating imprecise probabilism, which bear on rational belief and will bediscussed in Section 5.3 below. Perhaps there is always a way to contrive decision models such thatacts are intuitively probabilistically independent of states. Recall that Savage was tryingto formulate a way of determining a rational agent’s beliefsfrom her preferences over acts, such that the beliefs can ultimatelybe represented by a probability function. If we are interested inreal-world decisions, then the acts in question ought to be recognisableoptions for the agent (which we inventory management definition have seen is questionable). Moreover, now we see that one of Savage’srationality constraints on preference—the Sure ThingPrinciple—is plausible only if the modelled acts areprobabilistically independent of the states.

## 2 Completeness

- At the state level, the doctrine of parens patriae is invoked in cases when the state must intercede guardianship over minors if the parent is found negligent or incompetent 77.
- The lattercategory, despite their lack of states of mind, may neverthelessexhibit behaviour that can be interpreted as relational choice.
- Then if \(g\) is weakly preferred to \(f\), \(g’\) must be weaklypreferred to \(f’\).
- But since the probabilities of theseaccidents are sufficiently small, we decide to take our chances.
- To begin with, the clear connection between belief anddecision allows one to reflect on one’s beliefs in light oftheir pragmatic consequences.

Savage showed that whenever these six axioms are satisfied, thecomparative belief relation can be represented by a uniqueprobability function. Leonard Savage’s decision theory, as presented in his(1954) The Foundations of Statistics, is without a doubt thebest-known normative theory of choice under uncertainty, in particularwithin economics and the decision sciences. In the book Savagepresents a set of axioms constraining preferences over a set ofoptions that guarantee the existence of a pair of probability andutility functions relative to which the preferences can be representedas maximising expected utility. Nearly three decades prior to thepublication of the book, Frank P. Ramsey (1926) had actually proposed that adifferent set of axioms can generate more or less the sameresult.

But here a different interpretation of preference is brought tobear on the comparison of options. The idea is that preferences, orjudgments of desirability, may be responsive to a saliencecondition. Furthermore, when comparing \(A\) and \(C\), themost salient feature is their beauty. In such a case, some argue(e.g., Temkin 2012) that there is no reason why Transitivity should besatisfied with respect to the preferences concerning \(A\), \(B\)and \(C\). Others (e.g., Broome1991a) argue thatTransitivity is part of the very meaning of the betterness relation(or objective comparative desirability); if rational preference is ajudgment of betterness or desirability, then Transitivity isnon-negotiable.