The Concept of Picking
Item Type:Working Paper
The Concept of Picking IPSA Version--Official.pdf (Published (publisher's copy) - Peer Reviewed) 146.3Kb
Human behavior, like everything else, has causes. Most of the time, those causes can be described as reasons. Human beings perform actions because they have reasons for performing them. They are capable of surveying the options available and then selecting one based upon those. But invariably occasions arise in which reasons fail to single out a determinate option. Selection from within the set of remaining options cannot then be based on reasons. Instead, the agent must fall back upon a causal process unrelated to reasons. The agent ?picks,? but does not ?choose.? This paper investigates the phenomenon of picking, situating it within a broader account of rational decisionmaking. It specifies the circumstances under which the phenomenon (justifiably) arises. It distinguishes between picking and a variety of closely related phenomena, such as selection based upon brute desire, acting upon ?hunches,? and selection via formal lottery such as a coin toss. It concludes that picking and choosing require different kinds of justification. Each, however, is just as possible and just as desirable as the other under the right circumstances.
Author: STONE, PETER
Type of material:Working Paper
Series/Report no:Political Concepts: A Working Paper Series of the Committee on Concepts and Methods;50
Availability:Full text available