Acta Oeconomica 1 (72):1-23 (2022)

Aleksander Ostapiuk
Academy of Economics, Wroclaw
The phenomenon of weakness of will – not doing what we perceive as the best action – is not recognized by neoclassical economics due to the axiomatic assumptions of the revealed preference theory (RPT) that people do what is best for them. However, present bias shows that people have different preferences over time. As they cannot be compared by the utility measurements, economists need to normatively decide between selves (short- versus long-term preferences). A problem is that neoclassical economists perceive RPT as value-free and incorporate present bias within the economic framework. The axiomatic assumption that people do what is best for them leads to theoretical and practical dilemmas. This work examines weakness of will to resolve some shortcomings of RPT. The concept of intention is used to provide multiple self conception with the framework to decide between selves, which had not been done before. The paper concludes that individuals should not always follow their revealed preferences (desires) but the intentions (reason) because the latter indicates what people really want
Keywords weakness of will  revealed preference theory  choice over time  present bias  multiple selves
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Freedom of the Will and the Concept of a Person.Harry Frankfurt - 1971 - Journal of Philosophy 68 (1):5-20.
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Freedom and Reason.Richard Mervyn Hare - 1963 - Oxford, Clarendon Press.

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