Research in Engineering Design
Volume 11, Number 4 (2000), Pages 218-228.
This article establishes that Arrow's
General Possibility Theorem
has only indirect application to engineering design.
Arrow's Theorem states that there can be no consistent,
equitable method for social choice.
Many engineering design decisions are based on the
aggregation of preferences.
The foundation of many
engineering decision methods is
the explicit comparison of degrees of preference,
a comparison that is not available in the social
This explicit comparison of preference levels is
coupled with the choice of an aggregation method,
and some forms of
aggregation may be inadequate or inappropriate
in engineering design.