How to think about satisficing

Philosophical Studies 174 (6):1365-1384 (2017)
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An agent submaximizes with motivation when she aims at the best but chooses a less good option because of a countervailing consideration. An agent satisfices when she rejects the better for the good enough, and does so because the mere good enough gets her what she really wants. Motivated submaximization and satisficing, so construed, are different ways of choosing a suboptimal option, but this difference is easily missed. Putative proponents of satisficing tend to argue only that motivated submaximization can be appropriate while critics of satisficing tend to criticize satisficing, as I construe it. The existing literature, then, leaves satisficing in a very bad state: there are no good arguments for it and there are three unanswered objections to it. This paper clarifies the distinction between motivated submaximization and satisficing and refutes the three most prominent objections to the claim that satisficing can be appropriate.

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Chris Tucker
William & Mary

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References found in this work

The limits of morality.Shelly Kagan - 1989 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Beyond optimizing: a study of rational choice.Michael Slote - 1989 - Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
Satisficing Consequentialism.Michael Slote & Philip Pettit - 1984 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 58 (1):139-176.
Against satisficing consequentialism.Ben Bradley - 2006 - Utilitas 18 (2):97-108.
Beyond Optimizing: A Study of Rational Choice.Michael Slote - 1989 - Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.

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