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Terlazzo, Rosa, and . Conceptualizing Adaptive Preferences Respectfully: An Indirectly Substantive Account

2016, The Journal of Political Philosophy 24(2): 206-226.

Abstract: While the concept of adaptive preferences is an important tool for criticizing injustice, it is often claimed that using the concept involves showing disrespect for persons judged to have adaptive preferences. In this paper, I propose an account of adaptive preferences that does the relevant political work while still showing persons two centrally important kinds of respect. My account is based in what I call an indirect substantive account of autonomy, which places substantive requirements on the options available to a person, rather than on the option that she ultimately prefers. This allows us to pinpoint cases in which a person’s circumstances have rendered her insufficiently autonomous, without saying that any conception of the good must be non-autonomous tout court.

Comment: This article would make good recommended reading for a session taking an in-depth look at adaptive preferences, or further reading if the topic was autonomy and the session broached questions about preference formation.