Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE (www.oxfordhandbooks.com). © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 17 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This article examines four basic issues regarding ‘preferences’ as an explanatory concept in analytical sociology. First, it explains how the ontology of preference should be understood; that is, the question of what preferences are. It challenges both the ideas that preferences are ‘mental events’ and that they are ‘behavioral tendencies.’ Second, given that real-world alternatives may be characterized by numerous different attributes, the article considers the question of which attributes may be most salient to understanding action. It also explores the link between personality and preferences and how organizations act according to preferences. Finally, it describes how preferences change over time, paying attention to the preferences of actors being a target of purposive action by others and by actors themselves.

Keywords: analytical sociology, preferences, mental events, behavioral tendencies, action, personality, organizations

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.