Hard Choices

Hard Choices : Decision Making Under Unresolved Conflict

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It is a commonplace that in making decisions agents often have to juggle competing values, and that no choice will maximise 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 between 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 discusses conflicts of value in several domains - those arising in moral dilemmas, the drawing of scientific inferences, decisions taken under uncertainty, and in social choice. In each of these he adapts his theoretical framework, showing how conflict may often be reduced though not always altogether eliminated.show more

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"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." Ethicsshow more

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.show more

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