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Look Inside Foundations of Social Choice Theory

Foundations of Social Choice Theory


Part of Studies in Rationality and Social Change

Jon Elster, Aanund Hylland, Brian Barry, Aanund Hylland, Robert E. Goodin, John E. Roemer, Allan Gibbard, Donald Davidson, Amartya Sen
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  • Date Published: February 1990
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521389136

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About the Authors
  • The essays in this volume, first published in 1986, examine the philosophical foundations of social choice theory. This field, a modern and sophisticated outgrowth of welfare economics, is best known for a series of impossibility theorems, of which the first and most crucial was proved by Kenneth Arrow in 1950. That has often been taken to show the impossibility of democracy as a procedure for making collective decisions. However, this interpretation is challenged by several of the contributors here. Other central issues discussed in the volume include the possibility of making interpersonal comparisons of utility, the question of whether all preferences are equally to be valued, and the normative individualism underlying the theoretical tradition. Criticisms of social choice theory are advanced and suggestions for alternative approaches are developed.

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    Product details

    • Date Published: February 1990
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521389136
    • length: 260 pages
    • dimensions: 216 x 139 x 16 mm
    • weight: 0.32kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Notes on contributors
    Introduction Jon Elster and Aanund Hylland
    1. Lady Chatterley's Lover and Doctor Fischer's Bomb Party: liberalism, Pareto optimality and the problem of objectionable preferences Brian Barry
    2. The purpose and significance of social choice theory: some general remarks and an application to the 'Lady Chatterley problem' Aanund Hylland
    3. Laundering preferences Robert E. Goodin
    4. The market and the forum: three varieties of political theory Jon Elster
    5. An historical materialist alternative to welfarism John E. Roemer
    6. Interpersonal comparisons: preference, good and the intrinsic reward of a life Allan Gibbard
    7. Judging interpersonal interests Donald Davidson
    8. Foundations of social choice theory: an epilogue Amartya Sen

  • Authors

    Jon Elster

    Aanund Hylland


    Jon Elster, Aanund Hylland, Brian Barry, Aanund Hylland, Robert E. Goodin, John E. Roemer, Allan Gibbard, Donald Davidson, Amartya Sen

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