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Rationality as Conditional Expected Utility Maximization

Robert Grafstein
Political Psychology
Vol. 16, No. 1, Special Issue: Political Economy and Political Psychology (Mar., 1995), pp. 63-80
DOI: 10.2307/3791450
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3791450
Page Count: 18
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Rationality as Conditional Expected Utility Maximization
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Abstract

Rationality is usually defined in terms of expected utility maximization. This paper argues for defining it in terms of conditional expected utility maximization by showing this conception's superior explanatory power in the case of electoral participation and the honoring of political commitments. The paper also shows that the expected utility definition relies on a somewhat outdated metaphysics of choice and free will whereas conditional expected utility maximization's view of decision-making is more in keeping with standard scientific assumptions about human agency and behavior.

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