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Clumps and Pumps: Clumpiness, Resolution and Rational Choice


It is widely held that the possibility of value-incomparability poses a serious threat to comparativism. Some comparativists propose to avoid this problem by supplementing the three traditional value relations with a fourth value relation, variously identified as ‘roughly equal’ or ‘on a par’. However, in a recent article in this journal, Nien-he Hsieh has proposed that the comparisons thought to require rough equality or parity could instead be understood in terms of the concept of ‘clumpiness’. Against this suggestion, Martin Peterson has argued that the concept of clumpiness allows agents to be exploited in money-pumps, thus removing the central appeal of the concept. In this note, I show that Peterson's argument fails to establish that the concept of clumpiness allows agents to be exploited in money-pumps.

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R. Chang , ‘The Possibility of Parity’, Ethics 112 (2002), pp. 659–88

R. Cubitt and R. Sugden , ‘On Money Pumps’, Games and Economic Behaviour 37 (2001), pp. 121–60

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  • ISSN: 0953-8208
  • EISSN: 1741-6183
  • URL: /core/journals/utilitas
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