Decision Theory, Individualistic Explanations and Social Darwinism

  • Jocelyne Couture
Part of the Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science book series (BSPS, volume 178)


There is an important sense in which decision theory1 is not individualistic. A rational agent will choose the option whose utility, relatively to his own preferences, is the greatest. But the options over which he has to choose and the particular way their utility for him relates to other actor’s choices are both part of the context of choice. The rationality of choices, that is, their maximizing character, is then assessed for choices made in a given environment. In interpreting theories framed in a rational choice set up, such an environment will pattern a certain state of the world, a certain social environment, including economic and political contexts shaping, together with individual rationality and preferences, the very outcome of interactive choices.


Rational Agent Social Choice Rational Choice Decision Theory Individual Rationality 
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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jocelyne Couture
    • 1
  1. 1.Université du Québec à MontréalCanada

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