We make choices all the time - about trivial matters, about how to spend our money, about how to spend our time, about what to do with our lives. And we are also constantly judging the decisions other people make as rational or irrational. But what kind of criteria are we applying when we say that a choice is rational? What guides our own choices, especially in cases where we don't have complete information about the outcomes? What strategies should be applied in making decisions which affect a lot of people, as in the case of government policy? This book explores what it means to be rational in all these contexts. It introduces ideas from economics, philosophy, and other areas, showing how the theory applies to decisions in everyday life, and to particular situations such as gambling and the allocation of resources. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
Michael Allingham is a Fellow and the Senior Tutor at Magdalen College, Oxford. He read natural philosophy and then political economy at the University of Edinburgh and subsequently taught at a number of universities in the United Kingdom and the United States; he has also held visiting positions at universities in Italy, France and Austria. His previous books include Equilibrium and Disequilibrium, General Equilibrium, Value, Unconscious Contracts, Theory of Markets, and Rational Choice.