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  1. J. McKenzie Alexander (2011). Expectations and Choiceworthiness. Mind 120 (479):803-817.
    The Pasadena game is an example of a decision problem which lacks an expected value, as traditionally conceived. Easwaran (2008) has shown that, if we distinguish between two different kinds of expectations, which he calls ‘strong’ and ‘weak’, the Pasadena game lacks a strong expectation but has a weak expectation. Furthermore, he argues that we should use the weak expectation as providing a measure of the value of an individual play of the Pasadena game. By considering a modified version of (...)
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  2. Horacio Arló-Costa (2005). Models of Preference Reversals and Personal Rules: Do They Require Maximizing a Utility Function with a Specific Structure? Behavioral and Brain Sciences 28 (5):650-651.
    One of the reasons for adopting hyperbolic discounting is to explain preference reversals. Another is that this value structure suggests an elegant theory of the will. I examine the capacity of the theory to solve Newcomb's problem. In addition, I compare Ainslie's account with other procedural theories of choice that seem at least equally capable of accommodating reversals of preference.
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  3. Frank Arntzenius, Adam Elga & and John Hawthorne (2004). Bayesianism, Infinite Decisions, and Binding. Mind 113 (450):251-283.
    We pose and resolve several vexing decision theoretic puzzles. Some are variants of existing puzzles, such as ‘Trumped’ (Arntzenius and McCarthy 1997), ‘Rouble trouble’ (Arntzenius and Barrett 1999), ‘The airtight Dutch book’ (McGee 1999), and ‘The two envelopes puzzle’ (Broome 1999). Others are new. A unified resolution of the puzzles shows that Dutch book arguments have no force in infinite cases. It thereby provides evidence that reasonable utility functions may be unbounded and that reasonable credence functions need not be countably (...)
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  4. Max Black (1978). The « Prisoner's Dilemma » and the Limits of Rationality. International Studies in Philosophy 10:7-22.
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  5. Nick Bostrom (2001). The Meta-Newcomb Problem. Analysis 61 (4):309–310.
    There are two boxes in front of you and you are asked to choose between taking only box B or taking both box A and box B. Box A contains $ 1,000. Box B will contain either nothing or $ 1,000,000. What B will contain is (or will be) determined by Predictor, who has an excellent track record of predicting your choices. There are two possibilities. Either Predictor has already made his move by predicting your choice and putting a million (...)
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  6. Darren Bradley (2007). Bayesianism And Self-Locating Beliefs. Dissertation, Stanford University
    How should we update our beliefs when we learn new evidence? Bayesian confirmation theory provides a widely accepted and well understood answer – we should conditionalize. But this theory has a problem with self-locating beliefs, beliefs that tell you where you are in the world, as opposed to what the world is like. To see the problem, consider your current belief that it is January. You might be absolutely, 100%, sure that it is January. But you will soon believe it (...)
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  7. John W. Carroll (1993). The Indefinitely Iterated Prisoner's Dilemma: Reply to Becker and Cudd. Theory and Decision 34 (1):63-72.
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  8. José Luis Ferreira (2010). Monty Hall Drives a Wedge Between Judy Benjamin and the Sleeping Beauty: A Reply to Bovens. Analysis 70 (3):473 - 481.
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  9. John Martin Fischer (2001). Newcomb’s Problem: A Reply to Carlson. Analysis 61 (271):229–236.
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  10. Olav Gjelsvik (2002). Paradox Lost, but in Which Envelope? Croatian Journal of Philosophy 2 (3):353-362.
    The aim of this paper is to diagnose the so-called two envelopes paradox. Many writers have claimed that there is something genuinely paradoxical in the situation with the two envelopes, and some writers are now developing non-standards theories of expected utility. I claim that there is no paradox for expected utility theory as I understand that theory, and that contrary claims are confused. Expected utility theory is completely unaffected by the two-envelope paradox.
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  11. Jeremy Gwiazda (2012). Repeated St Petersburg Two-Envelope Trials and Expected Value. The Reasoner 6 (3).
    It is commonly believed that when a finite value is received in a game that has an infinite expected value, it is in one’s interest to redo the game. We have argued against this belief, at least in the repeated St Petersburg two-envelope case. We also show a case where repeatedly opting for a higher expected value leads to a worse outcome.
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  12. Leigh B. Kelley (1988). Reflections on Deliberative Coherence. Synthese 76 (1):83 - 121.
    This paper treats two problem cases in decision theory, the Newcomb problem and Reed Richter''s Button III. Although I argue that, contrary to Richter, the latter case does not constitute a genuine counterexample to a standard general proposition of (causal) decision theory, I agree with and undertake to amplify his solution to the decision problem in Button III. I then apply the conclusions and distinctions in the foregoing treatment of Button III to the Newcomb problem and argue that a familiar (...)
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  13. Brian Kierland & Bradley Monton (2005). Minimizing Inaccuracy for Self-Locating Beliefs. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 70 (2):384-395.
    One's inaccuracy for a proposition is defined as the squared difference between the truth value (1 or 0) of the proposition and the credence (or subjective probability, or degree of belief) assigned to the proposition. One should have the epistemic goal of minimizing the expected inaccuracies of one's credences. We show that the method of minimizing expected inaccuracy can be used to solve certain probability problems involving information loss and self-locating beliefs (where a self-locating belief of a temporal part of (...)
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  14. Srecko Kovac (2012). Logical Opposition and Collective Decisions. In Jean-Yves Béziau & Dale Jacquette (eds.), Around and Beyond the Square of Opposition. Springer. 341--356.
    The square of opposition (as part of a lattice) is used as a natural way to represent different and opposite ways of who makes decisions, and in what way, in/for a group or a society. Majority logic is characterized by multiple logical squares (one for each possible majority), with the “discursive dilemma” as a consequence. Three-valued logics of majority decisions with discursive dilemma undecided, of veto, consensus, and sequential voting are analyzed from the semantic point of view. For instance, the (...)
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  15. Gary Malinas (2003). Two Envelope Problems and the Roles of Ignorance. Acta Analytica 18 (1-2):217-225.
    Four variations on Two Envelope Paradox are stated and compared. The variations are employed to provide a diagnosis and an explanation of what has gone awry in the paradoxical modeling of the decision problem that the paradox poses. The canonical formulation of the paradox underdescribes the ways in which one envelope can have twice the amount that is in the other. Some ways one envelope can have twice the amount that is in the other make it rational to prefer the (...)
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  16. Philippe Mongin (2000). Does Optimization Imply Rationality? Synthese 124 (1-2):73 - 111.
    The relations between rationality and optimization have been widely discussed in the wake of Herbert Simon's work, with the common conclusion that the rationality concept does not imply the optimization principle. The paper is partly concerned with adding evidence for this view, but its main, more challenging objective is to question the converse implication from optimization to rationality, which is accepted even by bounded rationality theorists. We discuss three topics in succession: (1) rationally defensible cyclical choices, (2) the revealed preference (...)
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  17. Alastair Norcross (1998). Great Harms From Small Benefits Grow: How Death Can Be Outweighed by Headaches. Analysis 58 (2):152–158.
    Suppose that a very large number of people, say one billion, will suffer a moderately severe headache for the next twenty-four hours. For these billion people, the next twenty-four hours will be fairly unpleasant, though by no means unbearable. However, there will be no side-effects from these headaches; no drop in productivity in the work-place, no lapses in concentration leading to accidents, no unkind words spoken to loved ones that will later fester. Nonetheless, it is clearly desirable that these billion (...)
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  18. John L. Pollock (2010). A Resource-Bounded Agent Addresses the Newcomb Problem. Synthese 176 (1):57 - 82.
    In the Newcomb problem, the standard arguments for taking either one box or both boxes adduce what seem to be relevant considerations, but they are not complete arguments, and attempts to complete the arguments rely upon incorrect principles of rational decision making. It is argued that by considering how the predictor is making his prediction, we can generate a more complete argument, and this in turn supports a form of causal decision theory.
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  19. Wlodek Rabinowicz (2003). Remarks on the Absentminded Driver. Studia Logica 73 (2):241 - 256.
    Piccione and Rubinstein (1997) present and analyse the sequential decision problem of an “absentminded driver”. The driver's absentmindedness (imperfect recall) leads him to time-inconsistent strategy evaluations. His original evaluation gets replaced by a new one under impact of the information that the circumstances have changed, notwithstanding the fact that this change in circumstances has been expected by him all along. The time inconsistency in strategy evaluation suggests that such an agent might have reason to renege on his adopted strategy. As (...)
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  20. P. Shaw (1996). The Tortoise and the Prisoners' Dilemma. Mind 105 (419):475-483.
    Simon Blackburn has claimed that on a theory of revealed preference it is tautological that any eligible player - one whose preferences are consistent - plays hawk, chooses a strategy of non-cooperation with the other prisoner. This claim is examined and rejected. A prisoner in the appropriate sense is defined not by preferences over actions (playing hawk or playing dove) but by preferences over the four possible outcomes which result from the players' actions jointly (both playing hawk, both playing dove, (...)
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  21. Jordan Howard Sobel (1991). Non-Dominance, Third Person and Non-Action Newcomb Problems, and Metatickles. Synthese 86 (2):143 - 172.
    It is plausible that Newcomb problems in which causal maximizers and evidential maximizers would do different things would not be possible for ideal maximizers who are attentive to metatickles. An objection to Eells's first argument for this makes welcome a second. Against it I argue that even ideal evidential and causal maximizers would do different things in some non-dominance Newcomb problems; and that they would hope for different things in some third-person and non-action problems, which is relevant if a good (...)
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  22. Katie Steele (2007). Distinguishing Indeterminate Belief From “Risk-Averse” Preferences. Synthese 158 (2):189 - 205.
    I focus my discussion on the well-known Ellsberg paradox. I find good normative reasons for incorporating non-precise belief, as represented by sets of probabilities, in an Ellsberg decision model. This amounts to forgoing the completeness axiom of expected utility theory. Provided that probability sets are interpreted as genuinely indeterminate belief (as opposed to “imprecise” belief), such a model can moreover make the “Ellsberg choices” rationally permissible. Without some further element to the story, however, the model does not explain how an (...)
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  23. W. J. Talbott (1987). Standard and Non-Standard Newcomb Problems. Synthese 70 (3):415 - 458.
    Examples involving common causes — most prominently, examples involving genetically influenced choices — are analytically equivalent not to standard Newcomb Problems — in which the Predictor genuinely predicts the agent's decision — but to non-standard Newcomb Problems — in which the Predictor guarantees the truth of her predictions by interfering with the agent's decision to make the agent choose as it was predicted she would. When properly qualified, causal and epistemic decision theories diverge only on standard — not on non-standard (...)
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  24. David H. Wolpert & Gregory Benford (2013). The Lesson of Newcomb's Paradox. Synthese 190 (9):1637-1646.
    In Newcomb’s paradox you can choose to receive either the contents of a particular closed box, or the contents of both that closed box and another one. Before you choose though, an antagonist uses a prediction algorithm to accurately deduce your choice, and uses that deduction to fill the two boxes. The way they do this guarantees that you made the wrong choice. Newcomb’s paradox is that game theory’s expected utility and dominance principles appear to provide conflicting recommendations for what (...)
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  25. Byeong-Uk Yi (2003). Newcomb's Paradox and Priest's Principle of Rational Choice. Analysis 63 (3):237–242.
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Decision-Theoretic Puzzles, Misc
  1. A. Ahmed (forthcoming). Causal Decision Theory and the Fixity of the Past. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:axt021.
  2. A. Ahmed (2013). Causal Decision Theory: A Counterexample. Philosophical Review 122 (2):289-306.
    The essay presents a novel counterexample to Causal Decision Theory (CDT). Its interest is that it generates a case in which CDT violates the very principles that motivated it in the first place. The essay argues that the objection applies to all extant formulations of CDT and that the only way out for that theory is a modification of it that entails incompatibilism. The essay invites the reader to find this consequence of CDT a reason to reject it.
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  3. Arif Ahmed, Smokers and Psychos: Egan Cases Don't Work.
    Andy Egan's Smoking Lesion and Psycho Button cases are supposed to be counterexamples to Causal Decision Theory. This paper argues that they are not: more precisely, it argues that if CDT makes the right call in Newcomb's problem then it makes the right call in Egan cases too.
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  4. Arif Ahmed (forthcoming). Dicing with Death. Analysis:anu084.
    You should rather play hide-and-seek against someone who cannot predict where you hide than against someone who can, as the article illustrates in connection with a high-stakes example. Causal Decision Theory denies this. So Causal Decision Theory is false.
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  5. Arif Ahmed (2012). Push the Button. Philosophy of Science 79 (3):386-395.
    Opponents of Causal Decision Theory (CDT) sometimes claim (i) that it gives the wrong advice in Egan-style cases, where the CDT-endorsed act brings news that it causes a bad outcome; (ii) that CDT gives the right advice in Newcomb cases, where it is known in advance that the CDT-act causes you to be richer than the alternative. This paper argues that (i) and (ii) cannot both be true if rational preference over acts is transitive.
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  6. Arif Ahmed & Adam Caulton (forthcoming). Causal Decision Theory and EPR Correlations. Synthese:1-38.
    The paper argues that on three out of eight possible hypotheses about the EPR experiment we can construct novel and realistic decision problems on which (a) Causal Decision Theory and Evidential Decision Theory conflict (b) Causal Decision Theory and the EPR statistics conflict. We infer that anyone who fully accepts any of these three hypotheses has strong reasons to reject Causal Decision Theory. Finally, we extend the original construction to show that anyone who gives any of the three hypotheses any (...)
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  7. Chrisoula Andreou, Dynamic Choice. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
  8. Chrisoula Andreou (2007). There Are Preferences and Then There Are Preferences. In Barbara Montero and Mark D. White (ed.), Economics and the Mind.
  9. Horacio Arlo-Costa, John Collins & Isaac Levi (1995). Desire-as-Belief Implies Opinionation or Indifference. Analysis 55 (1):2-5.
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  10. Horacio Arló-Costa & Jeffrey Helzner (2010). Ambiguity Aversion: The Explanatory Power of Indeterminate Probabilities. Synthese 172 (1):37 - 55.
    Daniel Ellsberg presented in Ellsberg (The Quarterly Journal of Economics 75:643–669, 1961) various examples questioning the thesis that decision making under uncertainty can be reduced to decision making under risk. These examples constitute one of the main challenges to the received view on the foundations of decision theory offered by Leonard Savage in Savage (1972). Craig Fox and Amos Tversky have, nevertheless, offered an indirect defense of Savage. They provided in Fox and Tversky (1995) an explanation of Ellsberg’s two-color problem (...)
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  11. Marcus Arvan (forthcoming). How to Rationally Approach Life's Transformative Experiences. Philosophical Psychology.
    In a widely discussed forthcoming article, “What you can’t expect when you’re expecting”, as well as in a forthcoming book, L.A. Paul uses the notion of transformative experience to challenge culturally and philosophically traditional views about how to rationally make major life-decisions, most specifically the decision of whether to have children. The present paper argues that if the problem Paul presents has no direct solution—if there is no way to defend the philosophically and culturally dominant approach to rational decision-making for (...)
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  12. Michael Bacharach (1992). Backward Induction and Beliefs About Oneself. Synthese 91 (3):247 - 284.
    According to decision theory, the rational initial action in a sequential decision-problem may be found by backward induction or folding back. But the reasoning which underwrites this claim appeals to the agent's beliefs about what she will later believe, about what she will later believe she will still later believe, and so forth. There are limits to the depth of people's beliefs. Do these limits pose a threat to the standard theory of rational sequential choice? It is argued, first, that (...)
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  13. Andrew Bacon (2011). A Paradox for Supertask Decision Makers. Philosophical Studies 153 (2):307.
    I consider two puzzles in which an agent undergoes a sequence of decision problems. In both cases it is possible to respond rationally to any given problem yet it is impossible to respond rationally to every problem in the sequence, even though the choices are independent. In particular, although it might be a requirement of rationality that one must respond in a certain way at each point in the sequence, it seems it cannot be a requirement to respond as such (...)
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  14. Richard Bradley & Christian List (2009). Desire-as-Belief Revisited. Analysis 69 (1):31-37.
    On Hume’s account of motivation, beliefs and desires are very different kinds of propositional attitudes. Beliefs are cognitive attitudes, desires emotive ones. An agent’s belief in a proposition captures the weight he or she assigns to this proposition in his or her cognitive representation of the world. An agent’s desire for a proposition captures the degree to which he or she prefers its truth, motivating him or her to act accordingly. Although beliefs and desires are sometimes entangled, they play very (...)
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  15. Lara Buchak (forthcoming). Decision Theory. In Christopher Hitchcock & Alan Hajek (eds.), Oxford Handbook of Probability and Philosophy. Oxford University Press.
  16. Lara Buchak (forthcoming). Risk and Tradeoffs. Erkenntnis:1-27.
    The orthodox theory of instrumental rationality, expected utility (EU) theory, severely restricts the way in which risk-considerations can figure into a rational individual's preferences. It is argued here that this is because EU theory neglects an important component of instrumental rationality. This paper presents a more general theory of decision-making, risk-weighted expected utility (REU) theory, of which expected utility maximization is a special case. According to REU theory, the weight that each outcome gets in decision-making is not the subjective probability (...)
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  17. D. Collins (1988). Belief, Desire, and Revision. Mind 97 (July):333-42.
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  18. Franz Dietrich & Christian List, Reason-Based Rationalization.
    We introduce a “reason-based” way of rationalizing an agent’s choice behaviour, which explains choices by specifying which properties of the options or choice context the agent cares about (the “motivationally salient properties”) and how he or she cares about these properties (the “fundamental preference relation”). Reason-based rationalizations can explain non-classical choice behaviour, including boundedly rational and sophisticated rational behaviour, and predict choices in unobserved contexts, an issue neglected in standard choice theory. We characterize the behavioural implications of different reason-based models (...)
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  19. Franz Dietrich & Christian List (2005). The Two-Envelope Paradox: An Axiomatic Approach. Mind 114 (454):239-248.
    There has been much discussion on the two-envelope paradox. Clark and Shackel (2000) have proposed a solution to the paradox, which has been refuted by Meacham and Weisberg (2003). Surprisingly, however, the literature still contains no axiomatic justification for the claim that one should be indifferent between the two envelopes before opening one of them. According to Meacham and Weisberg, "decision theory does not rank swapping against sticking [before opening any envelope]" (p. 686). To fill this gap in the literature, (...)
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  20. Simone Duca (2011). The Suppositional Ramsey Test and Decision-Instability. Topoi (1):53-57.
    Abstract I analyse the relationship between the Ramsey Test (RT) for the acceptance of indicative conditionals and the so-called problem of decision-instability. In particular, I argue that the situations which allegedly bring about this problem are troublesome just in case the relevant conditionals are evaluated by non-suppositional versions, e.g. causal/evidential, of the test. In contrast, a suppositional RT, by highlighting the metacognitive nature of the evaluation of indicative conditionals, allows an agent to run a simulation of such evaluation, without yet (...)
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  21. Kenny Easwaran (2008). Strong and Weak Expectations. Mind 117 (467):633-641.
    Fine has shown that assigning any value to the Pasadena game is consistent with a certain standard set of axioms for decision theory. However, I suggest that it might be reasonable to believe that the value of an individual game is constrained by the long-run payout of repeated plays of the game. Although there is no value that repeated plays of the Pasadena game converges to in the standard strong sense, I show that there is a weaker sort of convergence (...)
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  22. Danny Frederick, Theoretical and Practical Reason: A Critical Rationalist View.
    If the task of theoretical reason is to discover truth or reasons for belief, then theoretical reason is impossible. Attempts to circumvent this by appeal to probabilities are self-defeating. If the task of practical reason is to discover what we ought to do or what actions are desirable or valuable, then practical reason is impossible. Appeal to the subjective ought is self-defeating and often gives either a wrong answer or a self-contradictory one. I argue that the task of theoretical reason (...)
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  23. Joseph S. Fulda (2009). Perfectly Marked, Fair Tests with Unfair Marks. The Mathematical Gazette 93 (527):256-260.
    Shows how, as a consequence of the Arrow Impossibility Theorem, objectivity in grading is chimerical, given a sufficiently knowledgeable teacher (of his students, not his subject) in a sufficiently small class. -/- PDF posted with the permission of the Editor, the Editor-in-Chief, and the Publisher. -/- Includes reply.
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  24. Johan E. Gustafsson (2011). A Note in Defence of Ratificationism. Erkenntnis 75 (1):147–150.
    Andy Egan argues that neither evidential nor causal decision theory gives the intuitively right recommendation in the cases The Smoking Lesion, The Psychopath Button, and The Three-Option Smoking Lesion. Furthermore, Egan argues that we cannot avoid these problems by any kind of ratificationism. This paper develops a new version of ratificationism that gives the right recommendations. Thus, the new proposal has an advantage over evidential and casual decision theory and standard ratificationist evidential decision theory.
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  25. Alan Hájek & Philip Pettit (2004). Desire Beyond Belief. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 82 (1):77-92.
    David Lewis [1988; 1996] canvases an anti-Humean thesis about mental states: that the rational agent desires something to the extent that he or she believes it to be good. Lewis offers and refutes a decision-theoretic formulation of it, the `Desire-as- Belief Thesis'. Other authors have since added further negative results in the spirit of Lewis's. We explore ways of being anti-Humean that evade all these negative results. We begin by providing background on evidential decision theory and on Lewis's negative results. (...)
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