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Balancing And Decision Theory

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Chapter Summary

This chapter examines the notion of maximization and summing by presenting utility theory. It presents a competing model of adjudicative decision making that does not require either maximization or summation and that better describes adjudicative decision making than principle theory. The central concept of instrumental rationality or economic decision theory is the notion of utility. The chapter uncovers the cognitive assumptions of principle theory and the weight formula and determines whether these are sound. The discussion of decision theory shows that the claim of principle theory is wrong and that the critics are right: The law of balancing presupposes cardinal scales of the goods that have to be weighed. Inspired by the satisficing conception of Simon and the priority heuristic, the chapter shows that there are decision procedures that do not rely on optimization, but which are still rational.

Keywords: balancing law; cardinal scales; decision theory; heuristic approach; instrumental rationality; utility theory; weight formula



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