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Choice-Based Cardinal Utility: a tribute to Patrick Suppes

Jean Baccelli and Philippe Mongin
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Jean Baccelli: THEMA - Théorie économique, modélisation et applications - UCP - Université de Cergy Pontoise - Université Paris-Seine - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, IHPST - Institut d'Histoire et de Philosophie des Sciences et des Techniques - UP1 - Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne - DEC - Département d'Etudes Cognitives - ENS Paris - ENS-PSL - École normale supérieure - Paris - PSL - Université Paris sciences et lettres - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique

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Abstract: We reexamine some of the classic problems connected with the use of cardinal utility functions in decision theory, and discuss Patrick Suppes' contributions to this field in light of a reinterpretation we propose for these problems. We analytically decompose the doctrine of ordinalism, which only accepts ordinal utility functions, and distinguish between several doctrines of cardinalism, depending on what components of ordinalism they specifically reject. We identify Suppes' doctrine with the major deviation from ordinalism that conceives of utility functions as representing preference differences, while being nonetheless empirically related to choices. We highlight the originality, promises and limits of this choice-based cardinalism.

Keywords: cardinalism; ordinal utility; cardinal utility; preference differences; representation theorems; Suppes; ordinalism (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2016
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-hpe, nep-mic and nep-upt
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Published in Journal of Economic Methodology, Taylor & Francis (Routledge), 2016, 23 (3), pp.268-288. ⟨10.1080/1350178X.2016.1189112⟩

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Journal Article: Choice-based cardinal utility: a tribute to Patrick Suppes (2016) Downloads
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DOI: 10.1080/1350178X.2016.1189112

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