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  1. 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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  2. Alan Baker (2007). Putting Expectations in Order. Philosophy of Science 74 (5):692-700.
    In their paper, “Vexing Expectations,” Nover and Hájek (2004) present an allegedly paradoxical betting scenario which they call the Pasadena Game (PG). They argue that the silence of standard decision theory concerning the value of playing PG poses a serious problem. This paper provides a threefold response. First, I argue that the real problem is not that decision theory is “silent” concerning PG, but that it delivers multiple conflicting verdicts. Second, I offer a diagnosis of the problem based on the (...)
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  3. Jeffrey A. Barrett & Frank Arntzenius (2002). Why the Infinite Decision Puzzle is Puzzling. Theory and Decision 52 (2):139-147.
    Pulier (2000, Theory and Decision 49: 291) and Machina (2000, Theory and Decision 49: 293) seek to dissolve the Barrett–Arntzenius infinite decision puzzle (1999, Theory and Decision 46: 101). The proposed dissolutions, however, are based on misunderstandings concerning how the puzzle works and the nature of supertasks more generally. We will describe the puzzle in a simplified form, address the recent misunderstandings, and describe possible morals for decision theory.
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  4. Jeffrey Barrett & Frank Arntzenius (1999). An Infinite Decision Puzzle. Theory and Decision 46 (1):101-103.
    We tell a story where an agent who chooses in such a way as to make the greatest possible profit on each of an infinite series of transactions ends up worse off than an agent who chooses in such a way as to make the least possible profit on each transaction. That is, contrary to what one might suppose, it is not necessarily rational always to choose the option that yields the greatest possible profit on each transaction.
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  5. P. Bartha (2007). Taking Stock of Infinite Value: Pascal's Wager and Relative Utilities. Synthese 154 (1):5 - 52.
    Among recent objections to Pascal’s Wager, two are especially compelling. The first is that decision theory, and specifically the requirement of maximizing expected utility, is incompatible with infinite utility values. The second is that even if infinite utility values are admitted, the argument of the Wager is invalid provided that we allow mixed strategies. Furthermore, Hájek (Philosophical Review 112, 2003) has shown that reformulations of Pascal’s Wager that address these criticisms inevitably lead to arguments that are philosophically unsatisfying and historically (...)
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  6. James Cain (1995). Infinite Utility. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 73 (3):401 – 404.
    Suppose we wish to decide which of a pair of actions has better consequences in a case in which both actions result in infinite utility. Peter Vallentyne and others have proposed that one action has better consequences than a second if there is a time after which the cumulative utility of the first action always outstrips the cumulative utility of the second. I argue against this principle, in particular I show how cases may arise in which up to any point (...)
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  7. Mark Colyvan (2008). Relative Expectation Theory. Journal of Philosophy 105 (1):37-44.
    Games such as the St. Petersburg game present serious problems for decision theory.1 The St. Petersburg game invokes an unbounded utility function to produce an infinite expectation for playing the game. The problem is usually presented as a clash between decision theory and intuition: most people are not prepared to pay a large finite sum to buy into this game, yet this is precisely what decision theory suggests we ought to do. But there is another problem associated with the St. (...)
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  8. Mark Colyvan (2006). No Expectations. Mind 115 (459):695-702.
    The Pasadena paradox presents a serious challenge for decision theory. The paradox arises from a game that has well-defined probabilities and utilities for each outcome, yet, apparently, does not have a well-defined expectation. In this paper, I argue that this paradox highlights a limitation of standard decision theory. This limitation can be (largely) overcome by embracing dominance reasoning and, in particular, by recognising that dominance reasoning can deliver the correct results in situations where standard decision theory fails. This, in turn, (...)
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  9. 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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  10. James Dreier (forthcoming). Boundless Good. Ms.
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  11. Antony Duff (1986). Pascal's Wager and Infinite Utilities. Analysis 46 (2):107 - 109.
  12. 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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  13. Terrence L. Fine (2008). Evaluating the Pasadena, Altadena, and St Petersburg Gambles. Mind 117 (467):613-632.
    By recourse to the fundamentals of preference orderings and their numerical representations through linear utility, we address certain questions raised in Nover and Hájek 2004, Hájek and Nover 2006, and Colyvan 2006. In brief, the Pasadena and Altadena games are well-defined and can be assigned any finite utility values while remaining consistent with preferences between those games having well-defined finite expected value. This is also true for the St Petersburg game. Furthermore, the dominance claimed for the Altadena game over the (...)
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  14. Alan Hájek (2006). In Memory of Richard Jeffrey: Some Reminiscences and Some Reflections onThe Logic of Decision. Philosophy of Science 73 (5):947-958.
    This paper is partly a tribute to Richard Jeffrey, partly a reflection on some of his writings, The Logic of Decision in particular. I begin with a brief biography and some fond reminiscences of Dick. I turn to some of the key tenets of his version of Bayesianism. All of these tenets are deployed in my discussion of his response to the St. Petersburg paradox, a notorious problem for decision theory that involves a game of infinite expectation. Prompted by that (...)
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  15. Alan Hajek (2004). Vexing Expectations. Mind 113 (450):237 - 249.
    We introduce a St. Petersburg-like game, which we call the 'Pasadena game', in which we toss a coin until it lands heads for the first time. Your pay-offs grow without bound, and alternate in sign (rewards alternate with penalties). The expectation of the game is a conditionally convergent series. As such, its terms can be rearranged to yield any sum whatsoever, including positive infinity and negative infinity. Thus, we can apparently make the game seem as desirable or undesirable as we (...)
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  16. Alan Hájek & Harris Nover (2008). Complex Expectations. Mind 117 (467):643 - 664.
    In our 2004, we introduced two games in the spirit of the St Petersburg game, the Pasadena and Altadena games. As these latter games lack an expectation, we argued that they pose a paradox for decision theory. Terrence Fine has shown that any finite valuations for the Pasadena, Altadena, and St Petersburg games are consistent with the standard decision-theoretic axioms. In particular, one can value the Pasadena game above the other two, a result that conflicts with both our intuitions and (...)
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  17. Alan Hájek & Harris Nover (2006). Perplexing Expectations. Mind 115 (459):703 - 720.
    This paper revisits the Pasadena game (Nover and Háyek 2004), a St Petersburg-like game whose expectation is undefined. We discuss serveral respects in which the Pasadena game is even more troublesome for decision theory than the St Petersburg game. Colyvan (2006) argues that the decision problem of whether or not to play the Pasadena game is ‘ill-posed’. He goes on to advocate a ‘pluralism’ regarding decision rules, which embraces dominance reasoning as well as maximizing expected utility. We rebut Colyvan’s argument, (...)
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  18. Alan Hájek & Michael Smithson (2012). Rationality and Indeterminate Probabilities. Synthese 187 (1):33-48.
    We argue that indeterminate probabilities are not only rationally permissible for a Bayesian agent, but they may even be rationally required . Our first argument begins by assuming a version of interpretivism: your mental state is the set of probability and utility functions that rationalize your behavioral dispositions as well as possible. This set may consist of multiple probability functions. Then according to interpretivism, this makes it the case that your credal state is indeterminate. Our second argument begins with our (...)
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  19. Luc Lauwers (1997). Infinite Utility: Insisting on Strong Monotonicity. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 75 (2):222 – 233.
    The note addresses the problem of how utilitarianism and other finitely additive theories of value should evaluate infinitely long utility streams. We use the axiomatic approach and show that finite anonymity does not apply in an infinite framework. A stronger anonymity demand (fixed step anonymity) is proposed and motivated. Finally, we construct an ordering criterion that combines fixed step anonymity and strong monotonicity.
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  20. Luc Lauwers & Peter Vallentyne (2004). Infinite Utilitarianism: More is Always Better. Economics and Philosophy 20 (2):307-330.
    We address the question of how finitely additive moral value theories (such as utilitarianism) should rank worlds when there are an infinite number of locations of value (people, times, etc.). In the finite case, finitely additive theories satisfy both Weak Pareto and a strong anonymity condition. In the infinite case, however, these two conditions are incompatible, and thus a question arises as to which of these two conditions should be rejected. In a recent contribution, Hamkins and Montero (2000) have argued (...)
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  21. Mark J. Machina (2000). Barrett and Arntzenius's Infinite Decision Puzzle. Theory and Decision 49 (3):291-295.
    The Barrett and Arntzenius (1999) decision paradox involves unbounded wealth, the relationship between period-wise and sequence-wise dominance, and an infinite-period split-minute setting. A version of their paradox involving bounded (in fact, constant) wealth decisions is presented, along with a version involving no decisions at all. The common source of paradox in Barrett–Arntzenius and these other examples is the indeterminacy of their infinite-period split-minute setting.
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  22. Christopher J. G. Meacham (2010). Binding and its Consequences. Philosophical Studies 149 (1):49-71.
    In “Bayesianism, Infinite Decisions, and Binding”, Arntzenius et al. (Mind 113:251–283, 2004 ) present cases in which agents who cannot bind themselves are driven by standard decision theory to choose sequences of actions with disastrous consequences. They defend standard decision theory by arguing that if a decision rule leads agents to disaster only when they cannot bind themselves, this should not be taken to be a mark against the decision rule. I show that this claim has surprising implications for a (...)
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  23. Christopher J. G. Meacham & Jonathan Weisberg (2003). Clark and Shackel on the Two-Envelope Paradox. Mind 112 (448):685-689.
    Clark and Shackel have recently argued that previous attempts to resolve the two-envelope paradox fail, and that we must look to symmetries of the relevant expected-value calculations for a solution. Clark and Shackel also argue for a novel solution to the peeking case, a variant of the two-envelope scenario in which you are allowed to look in your envelope before deciding whether or not to swap. Whatever the merits of these solutions, they go beyond accepted decision theory, even contradicting it (...)
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  24. Tim Mulgan (2002). Transcending the Infinite Utility Debate. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 80 (2):164 – 177.
    An infinite future thus threatens to paralyze utilitarianism. Utilitarians need principled ways to determine which possible infinite futures are better or worse. In this article, I discuss a recent suggestion of Peter Vallentyne and Shelly Kagan. I conclude that the best way forward for utilitarians is, in fact, to by-pass the infinite utility debate altogether. (edited).
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  25. Amos Nathan (1984). False Expectations. Philosophy of Science 51 (1):128-136.
    Common probabilistic fallacies and putative paradoxes are surveyed, including those arising from distribution repartitioning, from the reordering of expectation series, and from misconceptions regarding expected and almost certain gains in games of chance. Conditions are given for such games to be well-posed. By way of example, Bernoulli's "Petersburg Paradox" and Hacking's "Strange Expectations" are discussed and the latter are resolved. Feller's generalized "fair price, in the classical sense" is critically reviewed.
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  26. Yew-Kwang Ng (1995). Infinite Utility and Van Liedekerke's Impossibility: A Solution. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 73 (3):408 – 412.
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  27. Harris Nover & Alan Hájek (2004). Vexing Expectations. Mind 113 (450):237-249.
    Petersburg-like game, which we call the ‘Pasadena game’, in which we toss a coin until it lands heads for the first time. Your pay-offs grow without bound, and alternate in sign (rewards alternate with penalties). The expectation of the game is a conditionally convergent series. As such, its terms can be rearranged to yield any sum whatsoever, including positive infinity and negative infinity. Thus, we can apparently make the game seem as desirable or undesirable as we want, simply by reordering (...)
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  28. Myron L. Pulier (2000). A Flawed Infinite Decision Puzzle. Theory and Decision 49 (3):289-290.
    The recently proposed ``infinite decision puzzle'' is based on incorrect mathematics.
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  29. Piers Rawling (1997). Perspectives on a Pair of Envelopes. Theory and Decision 43 (3):253-277.
    The two envelopes problem has generated a significant number of publications (I have benefitted from reading many of them, only some of which I cite; see the epilogue for a historical note). Part of my purpose here is to provide a review of previous results (with somewhat simpler demonstrations). In addition, I hope to clear up what I see as some misconceptions concerning the problem. Within a countably additive probability framework, the problem illustrates a breakdown of dominance with respect to (...)
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  30. Teddy Seidenfeld, Mark J. Schervish & Joseph B. Kadane, Preference for Equivalent Random Variables: A Price for Unbounded Utilities.
    When real-valued utilities for outcomes are bounded, or when all variables are simple, it is consistent with expected utility to have preferences defined over probability distributions or lotteries. That is, under such circumstances two variables with a common probability distribution over outcomes – equivalent variables – occupy the same place in a preference ordering. However, if strict preference respects uniform, strict dominance in outcomes between variables, and if indifference between two variables entails indifference between their difference and the status quo, (...)
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  31. Teddy Seidenfeld, Mark Schervish & Joseph Kadane, When Coherent Preferences May Not Preserve Indifference Between Equivalent Random Variables: A Price for Unbounded Utilities.
    We extend de Finetti’s (1974) theory of coherence to apply also to unbounded random variables. We show that for random variables with mandated infinite prevision, such as for the St. Petersburg gamble, coherence precludes indifference between equivalent random quantities. That is, we demonstrate when the prevision of the difference between two such equivalent random variables must be positive. This result conflicts with the usual approach to theories of Subjective Expected Utility, where preference is defined over lotteries. In addition, we explore (...)
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  32. Jordan Howard Sobel (1996). Pascalian Wagers. Synthese 108 (1):11 - 61.
    A person who does not have good intellectual reasons for believing in God can, depending on his probabilities and values for consequences of believing, have good practical reasons. Pascalian wagers founded on a variety of possible probability/value profiles are examined from a Bayesian perspective central to which is the idea that states and options are pragmatically reasonable only if they maximize subjective expected value. Attention is paid to problems posed by representations of values by Cantorian infinities. An appendix attends to (...)
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  33. Peter Vallentyne (2009). Infinite Utility and Temporal Neutrality. Utilitas 6 (02):193-.
    Suppose that time is infinitely long towards the future, and that each feasible action produces a finite amount of utility at each time. Then, under appropriate conditions, each action produces an infinite amount of utility. Does this mean that utilitarianism lacks the resources to discriminate among such actions? Since each action produces the same infinite amount of utility, it seems that utilitarianism must judge all actions permissible, judge all actions impermissible, or remain completely silent. If the future is infinite, that (...)
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  34. Peter Vallentyne (2004). Infinite Utilitarianism: More Is Always Better. Economics and Philosophy 20 (2):307-330.
    We address the question of how finitely additive moral value theories (such as utilitarianism) should rank worlds when there are an infinite number of locations of value (people, times, etc.). In a recent contribution, Hamkins and Montero have argued that Weak Pareto is implausible in the infinite case and defended alternative principles. We here defend Weak Pareto against their criticisms and argue against an isomorphism principle that they defend. Where locations are the same in both worlds but have no natural (...)
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  35. Peter Vallentyne (2000). Standard Decision Theory Corrected. Synthese 122 (3):261-290.
    Where there are infinitely many possible basic states of the world, a standard probability function must assign zero probability to each state – since any finite probability would sum to over one. This generates problems for any decision theory that appeals to expected utility or related notions. For it leads to the view that a situation in which one wins a million dollars if any of a thousand of the equally probable states is realized has an expected value of zero (...)
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  36. Peter Vallentyne (2000). Standard Decision Theory Corrected: Assessing Options When Probability is Infinitely and Uniformly Spread. Synthese 122 (3):261-290.
    Where there are infinitely many possible [equiprobable] basic states of the world, a standard probability function must assign zero probability to each state—since any finite probability would sum to over one. This generates problems for any decision theory that appeals to expected utility or related notions. For it leads to the view that a situation in which one wins a million dollars if any of a thousand of the equally probable states is realized has an expected value of zero (since (...)
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  37. Peter Vallentyne (1995). Infinite Utility: Anonymity and Person-Centredness. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 73 (3):413 – 420.
    In 1991 Mark Nelson argued that if time is infinitely long towards the future, then under certain easily met conditions traditional utilitarianism is unable to discriminate among actions. For under these conditions, each action produces the same infinite amount of utility, and thus it seems that utilitarianism must judge all actions permissible, judge all actions impermissible, or remain completely silent. In response to this criticism of utilitarianism, I argued that utilitarianism had the resources for dealing with at least some cases (...)
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  38. Peter Vallentyne (1993). Utilitarianism and Infinite Utility. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 71 (2):212 – 217.
    Traditional act utilitarianism judges an action permissible just in case it produces as much aggregate utility as any alternative. It is often supposed that utilitarianism faces a serious problem if the future is infinitely long. For in that case, actions may produce an infinite amount of utility. And if that is so for most actions, then utilitarianism, it appears, loses most of its power to discriminate among actions. For, if most actions produce an infinite amount of utility, then few actions (...)
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  39. Peter Vallentyne, Infinity in Ethics. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    Puzzles can arise in ethical theory (as well as decision theory) when infinity is involved. The puzzles arise primarily in theories—such as consequentialist theories—that appeal to the value of actions or states of affairs. Section 1 addresses the question of whether one source of value (such as major aesthetic pleasures) can be infinitely more valuable than another (such as minor gustatory pleasures). An affirmative answer is given by appealing to the notion of lexicographic priority. Section 2 address the question of (...)
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  40. Peter Vallentyne & Shelly Kagan (1997). Infinite Value and Finitely Additive Value Theory. Journal of Philosophy 94 (1):5-26.
    000000001. Introduction Call a theory of the good—be it moral or prudential—aggregative just in case (1) it recognizes local (or location-relative) goodness, and (2) the goodness of states of affairs is based on some aggregation of local goodness. The locations for local goodness might be points or regions in time, space, or space-time; or they might be people, or states of nature.1 Any method of aggregation is allowed: totaling, averaging, measuring the equality of the distribution, measuring the minimum, etc.. Call (...)
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