Standardly conceived, an adaptive preference is a preference for what a person can get because they can get it, and against what one can’t because they can’t. Adaptive Preferences have interested philosophers because they are widely held to be defective, though stating what about them is defective is itself a matter of intense controversy. This dissertation proposes a theory of adaptive preference. First, I provide a novel account of the distinction between adaptive and standard preference change. Against the common view, I argue not only that an adaptive preference is better understood as a response to what an agent will not get- rather than a response to what she cannot get, or what is infeasible- but also that what is most distinctive about adaptive preference is the character of that response. What makes an adaptive preference change different from a standard preference change- one in which an agent will downgrade an alternative in virtue of its undesirable properties- is that the adaptive agent downgrades an alternative in virtue of its desirable properties. Next, I use this account to explain what is defective about adaptive preference, arguing that the factors that are commonly invoked to explain an adaptive preference do not in fact supply reasons for one. Or at least, I argue, they do not supply what are sometimes called ‘content-related’ reasons. Instead, an adaptive preference is a preference formed for the Wrong Kind of Reason, where attitudes formed for the Wrong Kind of Reason are commonly thought to be irrational. Finally, I respond to skeptical worries about the problem of adaptive preference according to which adaptive preferences are either not problematic at all or are too uncommon to be of much interest.
|Commitee:||Fileva, Iskra, Hale, Benjamin, Huemer, Michael , Norcross, Alastair|
|School:||University of Colorado at Boulder|
|School Location:||United States -- Colorado|
|Source:||DAI-A 82/6(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Ethics, Behavioral Sciences, Personality psychology|
|Keywords:||Call to action, Adaptive preference, Rationality|
Copyright in each Dissertation and Thesis is retained by the author. All Rights Reserved
The supplemental file or files you are about to download were provided to ProQuest by the author as part of a
dissertation or thesis. The supplemental files are provided "AS IS" without warranty. ProQuest is not responsible for the
content, format or impact on the supplemental file(s) on our system. in some cases, the file type may be unknown or
may be a .exe file. We recommend caution as you open such files.
Copyright of the original materials contained in the supplemental file is retained by the author and your access to the
supplemental files is subject to the ProQuest Terms and Conditions of use.
Depending on the size of the file(s) you are downloading, the system may take some time to download them. Please be