Introduction to Formal Preference Spaces

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Summary

In the article the formal characterization of preference spaces [1] is given. As the preference relation is one of the very basic notions of mathematical economics [9], it prepares some ground for a more thorough formalization of consumer theory (although some work has already been done - see [17]). There was an attempt to formalize similar results in Mizar, but this work seems still unfinished [18].

There are many approaches to preferences in literature. We modelled them in a rather illustrative way (similar structures were considered in [8]): either the consumer (strictly) prefers an alternative, or they are of equal interest; he/she could also have no opinion of the choice. Then our structures are based on three relations on the (arbitrary, not necessarily finite) set of alternatives. The completeness property can however also be modelled, although we rather follow [2] which is more general [12]. Additionally we assume all three relations are disjoint and their set-theoretic union gives a whole universe of alternatives.

We constructed some positive and negative examples of preference structures; the main aim of the article however is to give the characterization of consumer preference structures in terms of a binary relation, called characteristic relation [10], and to show the way the corresponding structure can be obtained only using this relation. Finally, we show the connection between tournament and total spaces and usual properties of the ordering relations.

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