Dinner is over. Mr. and Mrs. Jones and Mr. and Mrs. Smith are having coffee. The question arises: What shall we do this evening? Play bridge? Go to the movies? Listen to some chamber music from the local FM station? Sit and chat? Each, in due course, expresses a “preference” among these four alternatives but with this difference: Mr. and Mrs. Jones and Mrs. Smith, though each has a preference, “don't much care.” Their preferences are “mild” or “marginal.” Not so Mr. Smith. His preference is “strong.” He is tired, couldn't possibly get his mind on bridge, or muster the energies for going out to a movie. He has listened to chamber music all afternoon while working on an architectural problem, and couldn't bear any more. If the group does anything other than sit and chat, he at least will do it grudgingly. He “cares enormously” which alternative is chosen.
Now: which is the “correct” choice among the four alternatives? Which, “distributive justice” to one side, is the choice most likely to preserve good relations among the members of the group? Some theorists, it would seem, find these two questions easy to answer. Mr. Smith ought to have his way, and good relations are likely to be endangered if he does not; and these answers are equally valid whether the other three all prefer the same thing or prefer different things. Since, for the latter, the choice is a matter of indifference, it is both “more fair” and “more expedient” (less likely to lead to a quarrel) for the group to do what Mr. Smith prefers to do.
* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.
Usage data cannot currently be displayed