Hard Choices: Decision Making under Unresolved Conflict

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Overview

It is a commonplace that in making decisions agents often have to juggle competing values, and that no choice will maximize satisfaction of them all. However, the prevailing account of these cases assumes that there is always a single ranking of the agent's values, and therefore no unresolvable conflict among them. Isaac Levi denies this assumption, arguing that agents often must choose without having balanced their different values and that to be rational, an act does not have to be optimal, only what Levi terms "admissible." This book explores the consequences of denying the assumption and develops a general approach to decision-making under unresolved conflict. Professor Levi argues not only against the "strict Bayesian" position, but also against all the recent attempts to develop alternative models to Bayesianism. The book, which continues from his earlier The Enterprise of Knowledge, is certain to make an original and controversial contribution to the debates over choice theory.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Levi's book represents an important extension of the current discussion of conflict situations..." Bryson Brown, University of Lethbridge

"...a valuable and challenging contribution to choice theory." Ethics

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521386302
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 12/28/2005
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 264
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.55 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface; 1. Moral struggle; 2. Dilemmas; 3. Values in scientific inquiry; 4. Choice and foreknowledge; 5. Value structures; 6. Values revealed by choices; 7. Uncertainty as a source of conflict; 8. Conflict and social agency; 9. Distributing benefits; 10. Utilarianism and conflict; 11. Social choice theory; 12. Conflict and inquiry; Notes; Bibliography; Name index; Subject index.

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