Choose choice, means: When all other things are equal, then the preferred choice would be the one that allows for the greatest number of subsequent choices.

Has any philosopher proposed this or something like it?

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    This sounds related to strategic choice: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strategic_Choice_Theory although maximizing the amount of choices available later does not seem a reason in itself to make a choice. However, having multiple plan Bs in case plan A doesn't work looks like something to consider. – Frank Hubeny Sep 6 at 12:23
  • I'm not sure I'd call Paul Graham a philosopher, but he describes being upwind in paulgraham.com/hs.html, which is a suggestion for high school students to study hard subjects to keep their options open. – David Thornley Sep 6 at 17:49

When all other things are equal, then the preferred choice would be the one that allows for the greatest number of subsequent choices.

Call this Rule 1.

Rule 1 could be broadly covered by a principle of rational choice theory (RCT) :

Rationality consists in the maximization of utility.

Hold on before you react ! I don't present this as an uncontentious and consensual principle of RCT but RCT in some versions can embrace it. And it doesn't connect immediately with Rule 1. But if we include choices within utility than the maximization of utility involves the maximization of choices - including future choices.

I am not sure what 'all else equal' covers. Obviously Rule 1 wouldn't apply if one chooses to commit suicide - literally the death of future choice but in some circumstances itself a rational choice. Or at least so I suppose.

Also there is the point that the mere multiplication of future choices may add nothing of value to one's life. If I choose that action which 'allows for the greatest number of subsequent choices', what if most if not all of those choices are trivial, painfully dilemmatic or just plain unpleasant ?

Given the conditions of risk and uncertainty under which we all operate I should opt for Rule 2 :

When all other things are equal, then the preferred choice would be the one that carries the least number of irreversible consequences.

But this is a parenthesis to my answer.

  • You raise a valid point: maximizing choices can conceivably lead to unnecessary suffering, of one sort or another. Maybe a better version of 'all else equal' could rectify that. Also thanks for reminding me about RTC. Exploring differing dynamics of individual and group application could be informative. – christo183 Sep 18 at 17:59
  • I think it is not off-topic to note that it seems to be against the principles of stability, structure, institution, and indeed, civilization, always to choose variation. – elliot svensson Oct 18 at 18:26

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