The impotence of the Value Pump

JOHN G. HALSTEAD, St Anne’s College, The University of Oxford

Many philosophers have argued that agents must be irrational to lose out in a ‘value pump’ or ‘money pump’. A number of different conclusions have been drawn from this claim. The ‘Value Pump’ (VP) has been one of the main arguments offered for the axioms of expected utility theory; it has been used to show that options cannot be incomparable or on a par; and it has been used to show that our past choices have normative significance for our subsequent choices. In this paper, I argue that the fact that someone loses out in a value pump provides no reason to believe that they are irrational. The VP is impotent.

Read the full paper: Impotence of the value pump_Dr.J.G. Halstead

Published in Utilitas.