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Sour grapes: Studies in the subversion of rationality

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Abstract

Drawing on philosophy, political and social theory, decision-theory, economics, psychology, history and literature, Jon Elster’s classic book Sour Grapes continues and complements the arguments of his acclaimed earlier book, Ulysses and the Sirens. Elster begins with an analysis of the notation of rationality, before tackling the notions of irrational behavior, desires and belief with highly sophisticated arguments that subvert the orthodox theories of rational choice. Presented in a fresh series livery and with a specially commissioned preface written by Richard Holton, illuminating its continuing importance to philosophical enquiry, Sour Grapes has been revived for a new generation of readers. © Maison des Sciences de l’Homme and Cambridge University Press 1983.
... Key Words : happiness, Northern Europe, capabilities, spatial capabilities, Norway, Denmark, qualitative research methods, residence, mobilities, freedom to choose, adaptive preferences 서도 행복과 생존 기제를 찾아내는 인간의 특성 때문이다 (Elster, 1983;Nussbaum, 2000;Robeyns, 2003 (Ahmed, 2007;Eckersley, 2008;White, 2010 (Atkinson and Scott, 2015;Atkinson, 2013;Kearns et al., 2014;김은정・김태환, 2015; 박수경, 2020), 웰빙 (Conradson, 2012;Scott, 2012) (Conradson, 2003;Haybron, 2011;Panelli and Tipa, 2007;Tucker, 2010 (Smith and Reid, 2018). ...
... 지리학에서도 역량 이 론은 규범적 접근 (Olson and Sayer, 2009), 교통지리학 (Ryan et al., 2015), 지리교육 (Lambert et al., 2015), 국제 개발 (Deneulin, 2013), 웰빙 (Fleuret and Atkinson, 2007 (Sen, 1992; (Nussbaum, 2000;Sen, 1992 (Pettit, 2001;Sen, 1992Sen, , 1999 (Morin and Guelke, 2007;Secor, 2002Secor, , 2004. 또 한 국내/국제이주에서 자신의 의지로 이주를 선택했는지 가 주요 문제가 된다 (Kaufmann, 2002;Sager, 2006 (Elster, 1983;Harvey and Reed, 1996 (Nussbaum, 2000(Nussbaum, , 2003. Elster(1983Elster( , 1996, Nussbaum(2001Nussbaum( , 2003 (Folbre, 1986;Fortuijn and Ostendorf, 2004;Kabeer, 1999;Robeyns, 2003) 라는 것이다. ...
... 또 한 국내/국제이주에서 자신의 의지로 이주를 선택했는지 가 주요 문제가 된다 (Kaufmann, 2002;Sager, 2006 (Elster, 1983;Harvey and Reed, 1996 (Nussbaum, 2000(Nussbaum, , 2003. Elster(1983Elster( , 1996, Nussbaum(2001Nussbaum( , 2003 (Folbre, 1986;Fortuijn and Ostendorf, 2004;Kabeer, 1999;Robeyns, 2003) 라는 것이다. ...
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This study is a qualitative analysis of the happiness of people living in big cities in Northern Europe, which are regarded as models of happiness and welfare. In the field of geography, calls for research into happiness have been increasing in recent years. This research responds to those calls, using qualitative and processual approaches to view specific contexts of happiness in a study of the interaction between life experiences and individuals' strategies. The theoretical framework of this study is constructed around 'human capability,' the freedom to choose a different kind or another way of life, and 'spatial capability,' the capability in the areas of residency and mobility. Based on semi-structured in-depth interviews with younger adults in their 20s as well as adults in their 30s and older living in Copenhagen, Denmark, and Oslo, Norway, the results of this study are as follows. First, in answer to the-465
... They postulate that the value of a given environmental asset cannot be defined a priori, but instead reflects individual preferences which, presumably, maximise the individual utility and in doing so are also Pareto-efficient from a collective point of view (see Bromley and Paavola 2002). Thus, there could be cases in which the individuals acting within these models end up in the grips of adaptive preferences, that is to say of the psychological phenomenon by virtue of which low levels of experienced conditions move down the bar of expectations (Sen 1999, 62-63, 67-70;Nussbaum 2000, 111-166;Elster 1983;Bovens 1992;)-so falling back on a reductionist interpretation of harm. ...
... From the first perspective, an adaptive preference accounts to a nonautonomous change in preferences that is irrational and therefore unusable for the purpose of measuring individual well-being. Where non-autonomous means that it does not derive from a conscious process aimed at changing preferences, and the typical example is that of an individual who is unable to obtain a certain functioning and therefore convinces herself that this functioning is irrelevant for her wellbeing (Elster 1983;Bovens 1992;Bruckner 2009). From the second perspective, an adaptive preference can be interpreted as the renunciation of one or more capabilities in the face of restricted options, which counts as either unreliable for wellbeing assessment (Sen 1999, 62-63) or as normatively wrong whenever the capabilities the individual gives up are considered as objectively constitutive of a life that has value, regardless of the degree of awareness or unreasonableness of the individual (Nussbaum 2000, 111-166;2001). ...
Article
In this article, we deal with the evaluation of the losses suffered by persons living in urban areas as a result of energy services. In the first part, we analyse how by adopting different informational foci we obtain contrasting interpersonal evaluations regarding the same loss. In the second part, we distinguish between a diachronic and a hypothetical/moralised threshold for harm in order to assess whether individuals are benefiting from or being harmed by a given energy service. Our argument is that the most accurate evaluation of an individual damage caused by an energy service can be obtained by using capabilities as informational focus, instead of realised wellbeing or means to wellbeing, and by interpreting the loss in relation to a hypothetical/moralised threshold that corresponds to a list of central capabilities. In the last part, we address monetary and non-monetary compensations for a loss that is evaluated in terms of capabilities. Accordingly, we expound how compensation policies can either restore the capabilities lost due to energy services or monetarily compensate the individual for the fact that a given capability (or set of capabilities) has been irremediably lost.
... One might object that the occurrence of response shift is essentially a case of an "adaptive preference," a preference formed in response to a deprived set of options which does not reflect an individual's "true" interests (Elster, 1983;Nussbaum, 1992). For example, people who claim to prefer to remain in abusive relationships, or who claim to be satisfied in oppressive societies are typically cited as paradigm examples of holding an adaptive preference. ...
... We would not want to say that these people are faring well, even though they claim that their desires are satisfied. On many accounts, adaptive preferences are problematic insofar as they are irrational, resulting from causal processes that are non-autonomous (Elster, 1983), or are justified by factors that do not actually support the adaptive preference (Bovens, 1992). Thus, we should not take adaptive preferences as indicative of an individual's well-being. ...
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Patients with severe disorders of consciousness are thought to be unaware of themselves or their environment. However, research suggests that a minority of patients diagnosed as having a disorder of consciousness remain aware. These patients, designated as having “cognitive motor dissociation” (CMD), can demonstrate awareness by imagining specific tasks, which generates brain activity detectable via functional neuroimaging. The discovery of consciousness in these patients raises difficult questions about their well-being, and it has been argued that it would be better for these patients if they were allowed to die. Conversely, I argue that CMD patients may have a much higher level of well-being than is generally acknowledged. It is far from clear that their lives are not worth living, because there are still significant gaps in our understanding of how these patients experience the world. I attempt to fill these gaps, by analyzing the neuroscientific research that has taken place with these patients to date. Having generated as comprehensive a picture as possible of the capacities of CMD patients, I examine this picture through the lens of traditional philosophical theories of well-being. I conclude that the presumption that CMD patients do not have lives worth living is not adequately supported.
... (Elster, 1983;Walsh, 2015). They are often thought to be the result of lifelong habituation (Bartky, 1990;Khader, 2011;Nussbaum, 2001). ...
... adaptive preference, which is based on the fable of the fox and the sour grapes: a fox desires some grapes, but finding they are out of his reach, changes his preference, claiming that grapes are too sour for foxes (Elster, 1983). As Martha Nussbaum points out, although this kind of preference change may be problematic in some cases, forming your preferences in response to the (limited) options available need not always be problematic (Nussbaum, 2001, p. 79). ...
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An important question confronting feminist philosophers is why women are sometimes complicit in their own subordination. The dominant view holds that complicity is best understood in terms of adaptive preferences. This view assumes that agents will naturally gravitate away from subordination and towards flourishing as long as they do not have things imposed on them that disrupt this trajectory. However, there is reason to believe that ‘impositions’ do not explain all of the ways in which complicity can arise. This paper defends a phenomenological account of complicity, which offers an alternative explanation.
... To avoid this pitfall, we also adopt the Adaptive Preferences (APs) concept, which has been widely used in feminist and development theories since the 1980s. Social and political theorists such as Sen (1988), Nussbaum (2001) and Elster (1987) applied it to explain strategies and behaviors of deprived and/or oppressed people that perpetuate or worsen their deprivation. In feminist philosophy it has been mainly used to understand women's self-depriving behaviors in the context of (patriarchal) oppression, such as choosing not to pursue further education believing a future husband will provide. ...
Thesis
https://research.vu.nl/en/publications/against-all-odds-exploring-wellbeing-transformation-with-mothers-
... Rational beliefs are the beliefs about the world grounded in available evidence. SeeElster, 1983. ...
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We examine the 1914-1918 creation of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes as a form of the ultimatum game. The negotiations among the Serbian Cabinet and the yugoslav Committee representatives of the Habsburg Souths Slavs from 1914-1918 exemplify three versions of this game. The first version is a typical (rational choice) type of the ultimatum game in which the receiver is satisfied with any offer by the Proposer. The second version is an instance of behavioral game theory. When the Proposer gives an unfair offer, it provokes an emotional reaction in the receiver who will reject it at the cost of harming themselves. We observe this behavior in the emotional behavior of frano Supilo, a Croat and one of the leaders of the yugoslav Committee. The third version of the behavioral ultimatum game can be observed in the behavior of Serbian Prime minister nikola Pašić who opposed any concessions to the yugoslav Committee, thus giving an ultimatum to the Croat side to accept the Serbian offer or remain with nothing, which was harmful to the Serbian side, too. This example is important because it produces two conclusions. first, historical games are often a mixture of several versions. Second , Proposers, too, can have an emotional reaction and give an offer that can hurt themselves. This aspect of the ultimatum game is less mentioned because it is difficult to simulate in experiments.
... ¿Para qué soñar lo que no puedo lograr? Como bien señalan Amartya Sen (1970) o Jon Elster (1983), las preferencias individuales de personas que viven en circunstancias deprimidas están formadas en respuesta a sus opciones restringidas: el zorro se autoconvence de que las "uvas están verdes y amargas" porque, a pesar de sus múltiples intentos para alcanzar las uvas rojas, nunca lo logra. ...
... This observation suggests an affinity between Adorno's position and more recent work on adaptive preferences. The concept of adaptive preferences has its origins in Elster's (1983) comments on unconscious preference formation but is more often associated with Nussbaum's (2001) normative application. Adaptive preferences, in the latter sense, are unconsciously motivated preferences for things which are not good for us and which we should not prefer, other things being equal, such as being discriminated against or disrespected. ...
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Given his view that the modern world is 'radically evil', Adorno is an unlikely contributor to business ethics. Despite this, we argue that his work has a number of provocative implications for the field that warrant wider attention. Adorno regards our social world as damaged, unfree, and false and we draw on this critique to outline why the achievement of good work is so rare in contemporary society, focusing in particular on the ethical demands of roles and the ideological nature of management's self-understanding. Nevertheless, we show that Adorno's comments on activities such as art and philosophy mean that it is possible to draw on his work in a way that contributes constructively to the conversation about good and meaningful work within business ethics.
... In adopting this perspective, we overlook the individualistic, competitive and instrumental-reductive frameworks, within which education is constructed as the key to these "goods", that structure and stage our desire for education. Furthermore, by pursuing education directly, and mapping out the detailed outcomes, targets and indicators by which we will achieve it, we overlook how, like happiness, education is essentially a "byproduct" (Elster, 1983) of our engagement with the world and is best approached obliquely rather than directly. 2 The second veil references the intersubjective dimension of fantasy. ...
... As we know, however, humans and animals can develop adaptive preferences (Elster 1983;Nussbaum 2001a, chapter 2;2006, 343-344). These are preferences formed or changed, typically subconsciously, under bad or unjust background conditions such as profoundly limited sets of options. ...
Article
Animals who live in cities must coexist with us. They are, as a result, entitled to the conditions of their flourishing. This article argues that, as the boundaries of cities and urban areas expand, the boundaries of our conception of captivity should expand too. Urbanisation can undermine animals’ freedoms, hence their ability to live good lives. I draw the implications of an account of ‘pervasive captivity’ against the background of the Capabilities Approach. I construe captivity, including that of urban animals, as affecting a range of animal capabilities, understood as freedoms, and I address some tensions within Nussbaum’s treatment of human-animal conflicts. Using the Capabilities Approach as a guide, I will attempt to motivate a convergence between habitat preservation in urbanised environments, urban design guided by justice, and the individual freedoms of animals.
... In authoritarian conditions with little space for people to act, they will value freedom less because it has no relevance to their lives (Welzel, 2013: 52f). This is an empirically observable coping mechanism, which in philosophy is expressed as 'the subversion of rationality' (Elster, 1983) or 'adaptive preferences' (Nussbaum, 2001). Oppression is self-sustaining. ...
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Annelien de Dijn’s Freedom: An Unruly History is a rich and thought-provoking work in intellectual history, tracing thinking and debating about political freedom in the West from ancient Greece to our own times. The ancient notion of freedom as self-government (what Quentin Skinner calls neo-roman liberty) is referred to as the ‘democratic conception’. The argument is that this conception survived through the renaissance, the early-modern period and the 18th-century Atlantic revolutions only to be deliberately scrapped in the 19th century in favour of liberal freedom – absence of state interference – thus severing the ancient links between freedom and democracy and turning democracy into a threat to freedom. The book is an impressive achievement and the use of sources staggeringly wide. However, though the liberal turn is certainly a fact of history, I am not convinced that it was such a decisive break, nor that the relations between conceptions of freedom and attitudes to democracy are as clear-cut as de Dijn needs them to be. De Dijn claims, with regret, that the liberal view remains our view and is now an essential part of Western civilization, but I find that to be empirically under-substantiated. By using the liberal turn to define an age, de Dijn lets history play out through the lens of the elite.
... ). C'estElster (1983) qui fut le premier à avancer la notion des « préférences adaptatives » en s'inspirant de la fable de La Fontaine « Le renard et les raisins », dans laquelle ce dernier présente la réaction adaptative du renard affamé face à sa frustration de ne pouvoir atteindre les raisins qui pendaient du haut de la treille, et finit par se convaincre que le goût était en tout cas trop aigre et la couleur trop verte.C'est ce que Sen appelle les « disciplined desires » et qui peuvent être le sort de plusieurs catégories de personnes comme les « démunis sans espoir » ou les « femmes soumises » et dont la situation destituée ne peut être reflétée lorsque la base informationnelle se limite à la satisfaction de l'utilité ou à un spectre limité de préférences imposées tout en ignorant les informations « non utilitaristes ».Dans la version standard, le choix effectué suffit pour établir ou « révéler » les préférences individuelles, ce qui peut induire une aberration substantielle, comme dans le cas où le choix accompli va à l'encontre des préférences. Le meilleur exemple est la fameuse situation du dilemme ...
Thesis
L’objet de la thèse est de mieux comprendre les mécanismes qui amènent les jeunes libanais se destinant à la formation universitaire, à s’engager dans une discipline d’étude particulière. Nous étudions le cas du premier choix d’études en sciences économiques à l’Université Saint Joseph (USJ) sur la période qui s’étale entre 2000 et 2016. Selon une approche méthodologique mixte, nous menons d’abord une étude économétrique par régression logistique qui vise à modéliser le premier choix d’études en sciences économiques de l’USJ et les principaux facteurs qui le déterminent. Nous nous sommes basés sur deux séries de données secondaires relatives aux étudiants et diplômés de l’USJ. Deux enquêtes qualitatives par entretien semi-directifs ont permis de compléter l’étude économétrique. D’abord, auprès d’un échantillon de diplômés de la Faculté de sciences économiques de l’USJ, et ensuite auprès d’un échantillon d’employeurs sur le marché du travail libanais en vue d’étudier dans quelle mesure les perceptions et attentes des diplômés correspondent à celles des employeurs. L’enquête qualitative a cherché à comprendre et à interpréter en premier lieu les représentations des diplômés vis à vis de l’effet signal de leur diplôme sur le marché du travail. En second lieu, l’enquête qualitative a permis d’étudier la dimension de la liberté individuelle appliquée au choix de la formation et de son impact surl’exercice des capacités et le bien-être professionnel. Le cadre théorique à l’appui de cette thèse est principalement celui de la théorie du capital humain, la théorie du signal et du filtre ainsi que l’approche par les capacités.
... As on so many things, philosophers are divided on what ought to characterize those counterfactual preferences, but they tend to fall roughly into two camps. For one camp, the preferences that ought to count in place of adaptive preferences are those that the subject would have formed autonomously (Elster, 1982(Elster, , 1983Terlazzo, 2016). For the other, the preferences that should count are those that are compatible with objective well-being, human dignity, justice, or some other substantive normative standard (Khader, 2011;Nussbaum, 2000). 1 All proponents of using the concept in political philosophy, however, tend to be unified in their aim: to explain intuitively compelling examples like the would-be gang member or the deferential wife, and to deny the legitimacy of the unjust systems to which they do not object. ...
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The concept of adaptive preferences is supposed to explain how and why victims of injustice might come to endorse their own oppression, and to provide political philosophers with a tool for objecting to that oppression even when its victims do not. Critics, however, argue that using the concept of adaptive preferences further harms the victims of injustice, by denying them the respect owed to moral agents and/or the opportunity to direct the course of their own lives. After canvassing this debate, I consider one proposal for retaining the concept as a helpful political tool while avoiding the harms that detractors point to. This proposal allows us to make different well-being judgments about adaptive preferences before and after they have been formed. I conclude by considering the parallel literature on adaptive preferences and disability, noting the possible short-comings of the proposal in that case, and suggesting a variety of ways for moving forward.
... However, at the same time these potential features of the concept of BN also have advantages. Objectivist definitions shield BN theories from the so called "adaptive preference problem" (Elster, 1983). Universalist definitions ensure that we can have more certainty and knowledge about what we owe to people who are far way in space and time than we could otherwise have. ...
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In answering normative questions, researchers sometimes appeal to the concept of basic needs. Their guiding idea is that our first priority should be to ensure that everybody is able to meet these needs—to have enough in terms of food, water, shelter, and so on. This article provides an opinionated overview of basic needs in normative contexts. Any basic needs theory must answer three questions: (1) What are basic needs? (2) To what extent do basic needs generate reasons for action and how are these reasons to be understood? (3) How are basic needs and their satisfaction to be measured? I address these questions in turn. Then I also briefly discuss the theoretical potential of appealing to basic needs in normative contexts. It turns out that future research in this area could benefit from a higher degree of interdisciplinarity and methodological reflection, and that, generally speaking, basic needs theories are more promising than they have often been claimed to be.
... Similarly, the candidate may reevaluate the significance of the emotion-eliciting event by telling herself that more opportunities will arise and that this was not their only chance of getting a job (Gross 2015, 9). More questionably, the candidate might engage in 'sour grapes' behavior and decide that they never wanted the job in the first place (see Elster 1983). Finally, someone may seek to regulate their negative emotions by taking a more distanced approach to their situation Kross and Ayduk 2008;Kross, Ayduk, and Mischel 2005). ...
Article
Victims of oppression are often called to let go of their anger in order to facilitate better discussion to bring about the end of their oppression. According to Amia Srinivasan (2018), this constitutes an affective injustice. In this paper, we use research on emotion regulation to shed light on the nature of affective injustice. By drawing on the literature on emotion regulation, we illustrate specifically what kind of work is put upon people who are experiencing affective injustice and why it is damaging. We begin by explaining affective injustice and how it can amount to a call for emotion regulation. Then we explain the various techniques that can be used to regulate emotions and explain how each might be harmful here. In the penultimate section of the paper, we explain how the upshot of this is that victims of affective injustice are left with a dilemma. Either they try to regulate their anger in a way that involves ignoring the fact of their oppression or they regulate it in a way that is likely to be harmful for them. Finally, we consider whether there are any good solutions to this dilemma, and how this issue opens up the possibility for further research into emotion regulation and moral philosophy.
... This reinforcement of epistemic, ignorance and moral bubble can also be understood as rational (all things considered) if we interpret it as a sort of adaptive preference mechanism. This notion is used to describe the formation of an opinion in front of external pressure or of a reduced number of options(Elster 1983).Content courtesy of Springer Nature, terms of use apply. Rights reserved. ...
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In this paper, we will re-elaborate the notions of filter bubble and of echo chamber by considering human cognitive systems’ limitations in everyday interactions and how they experience digital technologies. Researchers who applied the concept of filter bubble and echo chambers in empirical investigations see them as forms of algorithmically-caused systems that seclude the users of digital technologies from viewpoints and opinions that oppose theirs. However, a significant majority of empirical research has shown that users do find and interact with opposing views. Furthermore, we argue that the notion of filter bubble overestimates the social impact of digital technologies in explaining social and political developments without considering the not-only-technological circumstances of online behavior and interaction. This provides us with motivation to reconsider this notion’s validity and re-elaborate it in light of existing epistemological theories that deal with the discomfort people experience when dealing with what they do not know. Therefore, we will survey a series of philosophical reflections regarding the epistemic limitations of human cognitive systems. In particular, we will discuss how knowledge and mere belief are phenomenologically indistinguishable and how people’s experience of having their beliefs challenged is cause of epistemic discomfort. We will then go on to argue, in contrast with Pariser’s assumptions, that digital media users might tend to conform to their held viewpoints because of the “immediate” way they experience opposing viewpoints. Since online people experience others and their viewpoints as material features of digital environments, we maintain that this modality of confronting oneself with contrasting opinions prompts users to reinforce their preexisting beliefs and attitudes.
... 'Psychologism' refers to various approaches that attempt to explain false consciousness by psychological mechanisms at the individual level, coming out of trends in social psychology to treat structural failures as fundamentally individual failures. These mechanisms that compromise one's epistemic capacities range from adaptive preferences, where ignorant beliefs are indirectly acquired and maintained through an adjustment of the preferability of an initially preferable object (Elster 1983); the just-world hypothesis, where in virtue of one's bias that the world is just, oppression is understood as just retribution (Lerner 1980); to aliefs, which are automatic proto-doxastic responses to stimuli (Gendler 2011). Further, many note that the recidivism of false consciousness occurs not just in virtue of an agent's group membership in such a structure but also in virtue of their selfidentification as a group member (Cudd 2006;Meyerson 1991). ...
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False consciousness requires a general explanation for why, and how, oppressed individuals believe propositions against, as opposed to aligned with, their own well-being in virtue of their oppressed status. This involves four explanatory desiderata: belief acquisition, content prevalence, limitation, and systematicity. A social constructionist approach satisfies these by understanding the concept of false consciousness as regulating social research rather than as determining the exact mechanisms for all instances: the concept attunes us to a complex of mechanisms conducing oppressed individuals to mistake social understandings of themselves as natural self-understandings—the limits lie where these overlap, or are entirely absent.
... The term sour grapes is based on Aesop's fable about a fox that tried unsuccessfully to reach a cluster of grapes. To counter the frustration, he dismissed the grapes as sour and undesirable (Elster 1983;Temple, Temple, and Temple 1998). The fable illustrates a basic psychological mechanism: people often avoid frustration by devaluing unattainable rewards. ...
Article
Temporal scarcity appeals are a marketing technique in which marketers inform consumers that offers are valid for a limited time, such as “The offer ends today!” Social scarcity appeals inform consumers that offers are exclusive, such as “Members only!” In two studies, the authors study effects of temporal and social scarcity appeals for attracting consumers to promotional offers, depending on consumer perceptions of being socially included or excluded and their perceptions of the duration of temporal scarcity. The studies reveal that socially included (excluded) consumers perceive temporal scarcity appeals indicating a short (long) expiration date to be more persuasive. The research further identifies perceived value as a mediator of the effects.
... We can also appeal to the notion of adaptive preferences (see Elster, 1983;Nussbaum, 2001, chapter 2 and2006, pp. 343-4), that is, preferences formed or changed, typically subconsciously, under bad or unjust conditions such as profoundly limited sets of options. ...
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Urban animals can benefit from living in cities, but this also makes them vulnerable as they increasingly depend on the advantages of urban life. This article has two aims. First, I provide a detailed analysis of the concept of captivity and explain why it matters to nonhuman animals – because and insofar as many of them have a (non-substitutable) interest in freedom. Second, I defend a surprising implication of the account – pushing the boundaries of the concept while the boundaries of cities and human activities expand. I argue for the existence of the neglected problem of pervasive captivity, of which urban wildlife is an illustration. Many urban animals are confined, controlled and dependent, therefore often captive of expanding urban areas. While I argue that captivity per se is value-neutral, I draw the ethical and policy implications of harmful pervasive captivity.
... Furthermore, the model postulates interdependency among its three key components, in the sense that each one of these can influence and/or be influenced by the others. For instance, some classical findings from cognitive psychology -such as sour grapes syndrome (Elster, 1983;Hedström, 2006) and wishful thinking (Davidson, 1980;Hedström, 2006) -are frequently cited in the literature in order to demonstrate the presumed interdependencies between the actor's desires and beliefs. According to the phenomenon known as the sour grapes syndrome, for instance, actors may tend to desire only what they believe they can obtain. ...
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The aim of the present article is to contribute to the development of the Desire-Belief-Opportunity-model from a symbolic interactionist perspective. The main argument is that this model needs to incorporate the classical notion of definition of the situation to be able to account for the formative impact of interaction on the formation of actor’s beliefs, as well as the complex interdependency between two of its key components, namely the beliefs and the action opportunities of the actor. It is argued that the theoretical advancement of the DBO-model in this particular direction is not only feasible but also brings it considerably closer to the analytical refinement and the empirical validation it currently lacks.
... There is also evidence that skewed political perspectives cause damage not only of omission but of commission. Subsidies, and the narratives that underpin them, can alter farmers' own perceptions and work practices over time (Kovacs, 2019); an example of 'adaptive preferences' that shape themselves toand positively reinforceavailable options (Elster, 1983;Sen, 2001). In this way, a productivist ethos has to some extent been imposed on farmers by decades of production-oriented payments (Burton, 2004a;Erjavec and Erjavec, 2015;Wilson, 2001). ...
Article
The European Union Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) has failed to achieve its aim of preserving European farmland biodiversity, despite massive investment in subsidies to incentivise environmentally-beneficial farming practices. This failure calls into question the design of the subsidy schemes, which are intended to either function as a safety net and make farming profitable or compensate farmers for costs and loss of income while undertaking environmental management. In this study, we assess whether the design of environmental payments in the CAP reflects current knowledge about farmers’ decision-making as found in the research literature. We do so on the basis of a comprehensive literature review on farmers’ uptake of agri-environmental management practices over the past 10 years and interviews specifically focused on Ecological Focus Areas with policy-makers, advisors and farmers in seven European countries. We find that economic and structural factors are the most commonlyidentified determinants of farmers’ adoption of environmental management practices in the literature and in interviews. However, the literature suggests that these are complemented by – and partially dependent on – a broad range of social, attitudinal and other contextual factors that are not recognised in interview responses or, potentially, in policy design. The relatively simplistic conceptualisation of farmer behaviour that underlies some aspects of policy design may hamper the effectiveness of environmental payments in the CAP by overemphasising economic considerations, potentially corroding farmer attitudes to policy and environmental objectives. We conclude that an urgent redesign of agricultural subsidies is needed to better align them with the economic, social and environmental factors affecting farmer decision-making in a complex production climate, and therefore to maximise potential environmental benefits.
... Persistent inequality within unjust structures can distort an individual's beliefs about their quality of life and what is actually open to them, while also distorting the distinction between what she prefers and what she has been made to prefer (Techsel & Comin, 2005) through socialisation, habit, cultural norms, low expectation, intimidation, or adverse circumstances. Adaptive preference formation is a psychological process that is formed unconsciously, or barely consciously, such that whatever a person might have desired, had the background conditions been more propitious, is revised downwards or replaced (Elster, 1983;Nussbaum, 2000Nussbaum, , 2011. Adaptive preference formation (or deformation) may also result in 'entrenched satisfaction' even with unhealthy, unsanitary, unequal conditions, malnourishment, or discriminatory pay structures (Nussbaum, 2000). ...
Article
Education is one of the most powerful means by which to advance equality, equity, and justice, yet it is also one of the most powerful mechanisms by which inequality, inequity and injustice are reproduced. Although academics have developed various ways for understanding these phenomena, the dichotomy between agency and structuralism persists, and is often regulated by people's capabilities ‘to do and to be’, and the social and psychological constraints on agency. These shortcomings have stimulated us to reconsider their interactions. The aim is to explore how we may more insightfully understand the mechanisms that reproduce injustice and inequality in education by bringing together sociology and normative philosophy using Martha Nussbaum's Capabilities Approach and the theories of Pierre Bourdieu.
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Hume's theory of preferences would, from a contemporary point of view, be labelled an endogenous theory. He sees preferences largely as comparative desires that are formed and affected by the psychological process of sympathy. His view of preferences relates to his economic philosophy. Despite his understanding of preferences, Hume is, unlike some other thinkers with related perspectives like Thorstein Veblen, optimistic about the prospects of commercial society, claiming in one of his essays that the ages of commerce and refinement are both the happiest and the most virtuous. An important reason for his optimism lies in the fact that he understands happiness or well-being to largely consist in the process of actively pursuing one's preferences, not simply in the state of having one's preferences satisfied.
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This chapter proposes a critical republican response to harmful speech. The neo-republican revival, as a theory concerned with protecting the non-dominated status of individuals, proves to be an effective alternative to the non-interference framing of speech. After discussing some of the main principles of Philip Pettit’s influential neo-republican account, I then offer two substantial critiques. Pettit’s approach, as I argue, fails to sufficiently account for the ways in which discursive status is undermined by those social norms that map on to unjust social hierarchies. In addition, Pettit’s complaint and common awareness provisos inhibit the emancipatory potential of republicanism by overlooking the effects of structural barriers on an individual’s equal status. In response, I defend a critical republican alternative, where structural barriers to the exercise of discursive voice are considered proper objects of the republican project. In concluding, I suggest that a critical republican account of civility best serves the goals of a republican theory of free speech by taking seriously the role of expressive respect in all citizen relations.
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Abstract Social decisions are often made under great uncertainty - in situations where political principles, and even standard subjective expected utility, do not apply smoothly. In the first section, we argue that the core of this problem lies in decision theory itself - it is about how to act when we do not have an adequate representation of the context of the action and of its possible consequences. Thus, we distinguish two criteria to complement decision theory under ignorance - Laplace’s principle of insufficient reason and Wald’s maximin criterion. After that, we apply this analysis to political philosophy, by contrasting Harsanyi’s and Rawls’s theories of justice, respectively based on Laplace’s principle of insufficient reason and Wald’s maximin rule - and we end up highlighting the virtues of Rawls’s principle on practical grounds (it is intuitively attractive because of its computational simplicity, so providing a salient point for convergence) - and connect this argument to our moral intuitions and social norms requiring prudence in the case of decisions made for the sake of others.
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