Consent as a Rational Choice: Philosophical, Institutional and Empirical Approaches

Doctoral Dissertation uoadl:1309584 660 Read counter

Τομέας Φιλοσοφίας και Θεωρίας της Επιστήμης και της Τεχνολογίας
Library of the School of Science
Deposit date:
Φωκά-Καβαλιεράκη Παναγούλα
Dissertation committee:
Διονύσιος Αναπολιτάνος Ομότιμ. Καθηγητής (Επιβλέπων), Σταύρος Δρακόπουλος Καθηγητής, Ανδρέας Παπανδρέου Αναπλ. Καθηγητής
Original Title:
Consent as a Rational Choice: Philosophical, Institutional and Empirical Approaches
Translated title:
Η Συναίνεση ως Ορθολογική Επιλογή: Φιλοσοφικές, Θεσμικές και Εμπειρικές Προσεγγίσεις
Consent is a fundamental concept of political and moral philosophy and a
corner-stone for social sciences such as economics and the law. Genuine consent
is assumed to be given by rational individuals, so rationality is perhaps the
most important condition for any consensual activity. If we consider consent to
be a voluntary choice among available alternatives, then genuine consent is a
rational choice. As we examine the question of human rationality, we explore
the various aspects of the concept of rationality, the theories that have been
suggested and the evidence that have been documented by social and behavioral
scientists in the field of decision making and problem solving. For the
purposes of our analysis we use an economic approach and we follow the
discussion of economic rationality within the broader sense of choice behavior.
We also present a series of preliminary experiments where we report the
presence of an Intellectual and Moral Attribution Bias. When participants are
asked to assess their own behavior and that of others, for the same matter,
they tend to attribute rational motivation to self and irrational or immoral
motivation to others, thus indicating that people are biased against the
rationality and authenticity of the consent of others. We further present the
criticism of axiomatic and instrumental rational choice theory by behavioral
economics and we discuss the issues of social planning and individual consent
in the private or public sphere. We then go on to present evidence from other
social, behavioral and psychological sciences that are critical of the findings
and assumptions of behavioral economics. The defenses of rational decision
making in real life seem to be overwhelming and economic or social models
should be informed of a more inclusive framework of rationality. Nevertheless,
consent, even when it fulfills the condition of rationality and adequate
information, can never be unconstrained. However, this does not mean that the
presence of constraints equals with coercion. In order to distinguish between
coerced consent and consent among hard - but desirable - choices, we begin our
thesis by presenting an easy-to-use criterion.
Rational Choice Theory, Behavioral Economics, Decision Making, Economic Psychology, Policy Making
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