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  1. Matthew D. Adler, Bounded Rationality and Legal Scholarship.
    Decision theory seems to offer a very attractive normative framework for individual and social choice under uncertainty. The decisionmaker should think of her choice situation, at any given moment, in terms of a set of possible outcomes, that is, specifications of the possible consequences of choice, described in light of the decisionmaker's goals; a set of possible actions; and a "state set" consisting of possible prior "states of the world." It is this framework for choice which provides the foundation for (...)
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  2. George Ainslie (2005). Précis of Breakdown of Will. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 28 (5):635-650.
    Behavioral science has long been puzzled by the experience of temptation, the resulting impulsiveness, and the variably successful control of this impulsiveness. In conventional theories, a governing faculty like the ego evaluates future choices consistently over time, discounting their value for delay exponentially, that is, by a constant rate; impulses arise when this ego is confronted by a conditioned appetite. Breakdown of Will (Ainslie 2001) presents evidence that contradicts this model. Both people and nonhuman animals spontaneously discount the value of (...)
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  3. Ronald J. Allen (2001). Artificial Intelligence and the Evidentiary Process: The Challenges of Formalism and Computation. [REVIEW] Artificial Intelligence and Law 9 (2-3):99-114.
    The tension between rule and judgment is well known with respect to the meaning of substantive legal commands. The same conflict is present in fact finding. The law penetrates to virtually all aspects of human affairs; irtually any interaction can generate a legal conflict. Accurate fact finding about such disputes is a necessary condition for the appropriate application of substantive legal commands. Without accuracy in fact finding, the law is unpredictable, and thus individuals cannot efficiently accommodate their affairs to its (...)
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  4. 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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  5. Maria Bagassi & Laura Macchi (2006). Pragmatic Approach to Decision Making Under Uncertainty: The Case of the Disjunction Effect. Thinking and Reasoning 12 (3):329 – 350.
    The disjunction effect (Tversky & Shafir, 1992) occurs when decision makers prefer option x (versus y) when knowing that event A occurs and also when knowing that event A does not occur, but they refuse x (or prefer y) when not knowing whether or not A occurs. This form of incoherence violates Savage's (1954) sure-thing principle, one of the basic axioms of the rational theory of decision making. The phenomenon was attributed to a lack of clear reasons for accepting an (...)
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  6. Pat Barclay & Martin Daly (2003). Humans Should Be Individualistic and Utility-Maximizing, but Not Necessarily “Rational”. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 26 (2):154-155.
    One reason why humans don't behave according to standard game theoretical rationality is because it's not realistic to assume that everyone else is behaving rationally. An individual is expected to have psychological mechanisms that function to maximize his/her long-term payoffs in a world of potentially “irrational” individuals. Psychological decision theory has to be individualistic because individuals make decisions, not groups.
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  7. Robert Bass, Maximizing, Satisficing and the Normative Distinction Between Means and Ends.
    Decision theory, understood as providing a normative account of rationality in action, is often thought to be an adequate formalization of instrumental reasoning. As a model, there is much to be said for it. However, if decision theory is to adequately account for correct instrumental reasoning, then the axiomatic conditions by which it links preference to action must be normative for choice. That is, a choice must be rationally defective unless it proceeds from a preference set that satisfies the axiomatic (...)
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  8. Giacomo Bonanno (2002). Modal Logic and Game Theory: Two Alternative Approaches. Risk Decision and Policy 7:309-324.
    Two views of game theory are discussed: (1) game theory as a description of the behavior of rational individuals who recognize each other’s rationality and reasoning abilities, and (2) game theory as an internally consistent recommendation to individuals on how to act in interactive situations. It is shown that the same mathematical tool, namely modal logic, can be used to explicitly model both views.
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  9. Lisa Bortolotti (2011). Does Reflection Lead to Wise Choices? Philosophical Explorations 14 (3):297-313.
    Does conscious reflection lead to good decision-making? Whereas engaging in reflection is traditionally thought to be the best way to make wise choices, recent psychological evidence undermines the role of reflection in lay and expert judgement. The literature suggests that thinking about reasons does not improve the choices people make, and that experts do not engage in reflection, but base their judgements on intuition, often shaped by extensive previous experience. Can we square the traditional accounts of wisdom with the results (...)
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  10. Lara Buchak (forthcoming). Decision Theory. In Christopher Hitchcock & Alan Hajek (eds.), Oxford Handbook of Probability and Philosophy. Oxford University Press.
  11. 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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  12. David E. Buschena & David Zilberman (1999). Testing the Effects of Similarity on Risky Choice: Implications for Violations of Expected Utility. Theory and Decision 46 (3):253-280.
    Our aim in this paper was to establish an empirical evaluation for similarity effects modeled by Rubinstein; Azipurua et al.; Leland; and Sileo. These tests are conducted through a sensitivity analysis of two well-known examples of expected utility (EU) independence violations. We found that subjective similarity reported by respondents was explained very well by objective measures suggested in the similarity literature. The empirical results of this analysis also show that: (1) the likelihood of selection for the riskier choice increases as (...)
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  13. Krister Bykvist (2007). Satisficing and Maximizing: Moral Theorists on Practical Reason, Edited by Michael Byron. Cambridge University Press, 2004, 245 Pages. [REVIEW] Economics and Philosophy 23 (2):240-245.
  14. Mark Colyvan (2009). Naturalising Normativity. In David Braddon-Mitchell & Robert Nola (eds.), Conceptual Analysis and Philosophical Naturalism. Mit Press.
    In this paper I discuss the problem of providing an account of the normative force of theories of rationality. The theories considered are theories of rational inference, rational belief and rational decision— logic, probability theory and decision theory, respectively. I provide a naturalistic account of the normativity of these theories that is not viciously circular. The account offered does have its limitations though: it delivers a defeasible account of rationality. On this view, theories of rational inference, belief and decision are (...)
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  15. Horacio Arlo Costa & Jeffrey Helzner, Iterated Random Selection as Intermediate Between Risk and Uncertainty. ISIPTA'09 ELECTRONIC PROCEEDINGS.
  16. R. Dacey (2003). The s-Shaped Utility Function. Synthese 135 (2):243 - 272.
    The results generated by experimentalists in psychology and economics haveled to numerous advances in the study of human decision making under risk.Camerer (1995) and Rabin (1998) provide excellent reviews of the relevantliterature. These results clearly display the gap between normative theoriesof ideal behavior and descriptive theories of observed behavior. The mostprominent result is loss aversion – the observation that a loss is given greatervalue than a gain of an equal size – and the resulting S-shaped utility function.Rabin puts the key (...)
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  17. Michel Denuit, Claude Lefèvre & Marco Scarsini (2001). On S-Convexity and Risk Aversion. Theory and Decision 50 (3):239-248.
    The present note first discusses the concept of s-convex pain functions in decision theory. Then, the economic behavior of an agent with such a pain function is represented through the comparison of some recursive lotteries.
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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 (2013). A Reason-Based Theory of Rational Choice. Noûs 47 (1):104-134.
    There is a surprising disconnect between formal rational choice theory and philosophical work on reasons. The one is silent on the role of reasons in rational choices, the other rarely engages with the formal models of decision problems used by social scientists. To bridge this gap, we propose a new, reason-based theory of rational choice. At its core is an account of preference formation, according to which an agent’s preferences are determined by his or her motivating reasons, together with a (...)
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  20. Franz Dietrich & Christian List (2013). Where Do Preferences Come From? International Journal of Game Theory 42 (3):613-637.
    Rational choice theory analyzes how an agent can rationally act, given his or her preferences, but says little about where those preferences come from. Preferences are usually assumed to be fixed and exogenously given. Building on related work on reasons and rational choice, we describe a framework for conceptualizing preference formation and preference change. In our model, an agent's preferences are based on certain "motivationally salient" properties of the alternatives over which the preferences are held. Preferences may change as new (...)
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  21. Anna-Maria A. Eder (2011). Decision Theory and Rationality. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 24 (3):326-329.
    The concept of rationality is a common thread through the human and social sciences - from political science to philosophy, from economics to sociology, and from management science to decision analysis. But what counts as rational action and rational behavior? Jose Luis Bermudez explores decision theory as a theory of rationality. Decision theory is the mathematical theory of choice and for many social scientists it makes the concept of rationality mathematically tractable and scientifically legitimate. Yet rationality is a concept with (...)
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  22. Milton Friedman (1953). The Methodology of Positive Economics. In , Essays in Positive Economics. University of Chicago Press. 3-43.
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  23. Sven Ove Hansson, Decision Theory.
    This text is a non-technical overview of modern decision theory. It is intended for university students with no previous acquaintance with the subject, and was primarily written for the participants of a course on risk analysis at Uppsala University in 1994.
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  24. Daniel M. Hausman (1992). Essays on Philosophy and Economic Methodology. Cambridge University Press.
    This collection brings together the essays of one of the foremost American philosophers of economics. Cumulatively they offer fresh perspectives on foundational questions such as: what sort of science is economics? and how successful can economists be in acquiring knowledge of their subject matter?
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  25. Jeffrey Helzner (2009). On the Application of Multiattribute Utility Theory to Models of Choice. Theory and Decision 66 (4):301-315.
    Ellsberg (The Quarterly Journal of Economics 75, 643–669 (1961); Risk, Ambiguity and Decision, Garland Publishing (2001)) argued that uncertainty is not reducible to risk. At the center of Ellsberg’s argument lies a thought experiment that has come to be known as the three-color example. It has been observed that a significant number of sophisticated decision makers violate the requirements of subjective expected utility theory when they are confronted with Ellsberg’s three-color example. More generally, such decision makers are in conflict with (...)
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  26. Tamara Horowitz (2006). The Epistemology of a Priori Knowledge. Oxford University Press.
    This volume collects four published articles by the late Tamara Horowitz and two unpublished papers on decision theory: "Making Rational Decisions When Preferences Cycle" and the monograph-length "The Backtracking Fallacy." An introduction is provided by editor Joseph Camp. Horowitz preferred to recognize the diversity of rationality, both practical and theoretical rationality. She resisted the temptation to accept simple theories of rationality that are quick to characterize ordinary reasoning as fallacious. This broadly humanist approach to philosophy is exemplified by the articles (...)
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  27. Steven J. Humphrey (1999). Probability Learning, Event-Splitting Effects and the Economic Theory of Choice. Theory and Decision 46 (1):51-78.
    This paper reports an experiment which investigates a possible cognitive antecedent of event-splitting effects (ESEs) experimentally observed by Starmer and Sugden (1993) and Humphrey (1995) – the learning of absolute frequency of event category impacting on the learning of probability of event category – and reveals some evidence that it is responsible for observed ESEs. It is also suggested and empirically substantiated that stripped-down prospect theory will accurately predict ESEs in some decision making tasks, but will not perform well in (...)
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  28. Joseph G. Johnson & Jerome R. Busemeyer (2001). Multiple-Stage Decision-Making: The Effect of Planning Horizon Length on Dynamic Consistency. Theory and Decision 51 (2/4):217-246.
    Many decisions involve multiple stages of choices and events, and these decisions can be represented graphically as decision trees. Optimal decision strategies for decision trees are commonly determined by a backward induction analysis that demands adherence to three fundamental consistency principles: dynamic, consequential, and strategic. Previous research (Busemeyer et al. 2000, J. Exp. Psychol. Gen. 129, 530) found that decision-makers tend to exhibit violations of dynamic and strategic consistency at rates significantly higher than choice inconsistency across various levels of potential (...)
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  29. Brian Kim (forthcoming). The Locality and Globality of Instrumental Rationality: The Normative Significance of Preference Reversals. Synthese.
    When we ask a decision maker to express her preferences, it is typically assumed that we are eliciting a pre-existing set of preferences. However, empirical research has suggested that our preferences are often constructed on the fly for the decision problem at hand. This paper explores the ramifications of this empirical research for our understanding of instrumental rationality. First, I argue that these results pose serious challenges for the traditional decision-theoretic view of instrumental rationality, which demands global coherence amongst all (...)
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  30. Matthew Kotzen (2010). Review of Decision Theory and Rationality by José Luis Bermúdez. [REVIEW] Philosophical Books 51 (1):53-62.
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  31. Isaac Levi (1982). Ignorance, Probability and Rational Choice. Synthese 53 (3):387-417.
  32. Patrick Maher & Yoshihisa Kashima (1991). On The Descriptive Adequacy of Levi's Decision Theory. Economics and Philosophy 7 (01):93-100.
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  33. Mauro Maldonato (2007). Undecidable Decisions: Rationality Limits and Decision-Making Heuristics. World Futures 63 (1):28 – 37.
    In this article the theoretic evolution and the empirical-experimental efforts that have led to the affirmation of the bounded/procedural rationality paradigm are discussed. Moreover, the debate on supporters of the "optimization" approach and supporters of the "bounded/procedural rationality" approach is traced, highlighting the irreconcilability of these two approaches and, in retort, a solid defense against a merely "reductionist" attempt of the innovative context of the Simonian theory. Critically going over the debate on decision dynamics, it becomes clear how, due to (...)
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  34. Christopher J. G. Meacham & Jonathan Weisberg (2011). Representation Theorems and the Foundations of Decision Theory. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 89 (4):641 - 663.
    Representation theorems are often taken to provide the foundations for decision theory. First, they are taken to characterize degrees of belief and utilities. Second, they are taken to justify two fundamental rules of rationality: that we should have probabilistic degrees of belief and that we should act as expected utility maximizers. We argue that representation theorems cannot serve either of these foundational purposes, and that recent attempts to defend the foundational importance of representation theorems are unsuccessful. As a result, we (...)
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  35. Thaddeus Metz (2014). Just the Beginning for Ubuntu: Reply to Matolino and Kwindingwi. South African Journal of Philosophy 33 (1):65-72.
    In an article titled ‘The end of ubuntu’ recently published in this journal, Bernard Matolino and Wenceslaus Kwindingwi argue that contemporary conditions in (South) Africa are such that there is no justification for appealing to an ethic associated with talk of ‘ubuntu’. They argue that political elites who invoke ubuntu do so in ways that serve nefarious functions, such as unreasonably narrowing discourse about how best to live, while the moral ideals of ubuntu are appropriate only for a bygone, pre-modern (...)
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  36. Alex C. Michalos (1970). Cost-Benefit Versus Expected Utility Acceptance Rules. PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1970 (1):375 - 402.
    A rule for the acceptance of scientific hypotheses called 'the principle of cost-benefit dominance' is shown to be more effective and efficient than the well-known principle of the maximization of expected (epistemic) utility. Harvey's defense of his theory of the circulation of blood in animals is examined as a historical paradigm case of a successful defense of a scientific hypothesis and as an implicit application of the cost-benefit dominance rule advocated here. Finally, various concepts of 'dominance' are considered by (...)
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  37. Martin M. Monti, Simon Grant & Daniel N. Osherson (2005). A Note on Concave Utility Functions. Mind and Society 4 (1):85-96.
    The classical theory of preference among monetary bets represents people as expected utility maximizers with concave utility functions. Critics of this account often rely on assumptions about preferences over wide ranges of total wealth. We derive a prediction of the theory that bears on bets at any fixed level of wealth, and test the prediction behaviorally. Our results are discrepant with the classical account. Competing theories are also examined in light of our data.
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  38. Adam Morton (2005). Review of Paul Weirich, Realistic Decision Theory: Rules for Nonideal Agents in Nonideal Circumstances. [REVIEW] Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2005 (8).
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  39. Michiru Nagatsu (2013). The Limits of Unification for Theory Appraisal: A Case of Economics and Psychology. Synthese 190 (2):2267-2289.
    In this paper I examine Don Ross’s application of unificationism as a methodological criterion of theory appraisal in economics and cognitive science. Against Ross’s critique that explanations of the preference reversal phenomenon by the ‘heuristics and biases’ programme is ad hoc or ‘Ptolemaic’, I argue that the compatibility hypothesis, one of the explanations offerd by this programme, is theoretically and empirically well-motivated. A careful examination of this hypothesis suggests several strengths of a procedural approach to modelling cognitive processes underlying individual (...)
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  40. Raymond S. Nickerson & Susan F. Butler (2011). Keep or Trade? An Experimental Study of the Exchange Paradox. Thinking and Reasoning 14 (4):365-394.
    The “exchange paradox”—also referred to in the literature by a variety of other names, notably the “two-envelopes problem”—is notoriously difficult, and experts are not all agreed as to its resolution. Some of the various expressions of the problem are open to more than one interpretation; some are stated in such a way that assumptions are required in order to fill in missing information that is essential to any resolution. In three experiments several versions of the problem were used, in each (...)
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  41. Daniel Osherson (2005). A Note on Concave Utility Functions. Mind and Society 4 (1):85-96.
    The classical theory of preference among monetary bets represents people as expected utility maximizers with concave utility functions. Critics of this account often rely on assumptions about preferences over wide ranges of total wealth. We derive a prediction of the theory that bears on bets at any fixed level of wealth, and test the prediction behaviorally. Our results are discrepant with the classical account. Competing theories are also examined in light of our data.
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  42. Cedric Paternotte (2011). Rational Choice Theory. In I. Jarvie & J. Zamorra-Bonilla (eds.), Chapter 14 of The Sage Handbook of Philosophy of Social Science. Sage Publications. 307.
  43. John Pollock, Rational Decision-Making in Resource-Bounded Agents.
    The objective of this paper is to construct an implementable theory of rational decision-making for cognitive agents subject to realistic resource constraints. It is argued that decision-making should select actions indirectly by selecting plans that prescribe them. It is also argued that although expected values provide the tool for evaluating plans, plans cannot be compared straightforwardly in terms of their expected values, and the objective of a realistic agent cannot be to find optimal plans. The theory of Locally Global planning (...)
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  44. John L. Pollock, Against Optimality: Logical Foundations for Decision-Theoretic Planning in Autonomous Agents.
    This paper investigates decision-theoretic planning in sophisticated autonomous agents operating in environments of real-world complexity. An example might be a planetary rover exploring a largely unknown planet. It is argued th a t existing algorithms for decision-theoretic planning are based on a logically incorrect theory of rational decision making. Plans cannot be evaluated directly in terms of their expected values, because plans can be of different scopes, and they can interact with other previously adopted plans. Furthermore, in the real world, (...)
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  45. John L. Pollock, Thinking About Acting.
    The objective of this book is to produce a theory of rational decision making for realistically resource-bounded agents. My interest is not in “What should I do if I were an ideal agent?”, but rather, “What should I do given that I am who I am, with all my actual cognitive limitations?” The book has three parts. Part One addresses the question of where the values come from that agents use in rational decision making. The most comon view among philosophers (...)
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  46. Anatol Rapoport (2003). Chance, Utility, Rationality, Strategy, Equilibrium. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 26 (2):172-173.
    Almost anyone seriously interested in decision theory will name John von Neumann's (1928) Minimax Theorem as its foundation, whereas Utility and Rationality are imagined to be the twin towers on which the theory rests. Yet, experimental results and real-life observations seldom support that expectation. Over two centuries ago, Hume (1739–40/1978) put his finger on the discrepancy. “Reason,” he wrote “is, and ought to be the slave of passions, and can never pretend to any other office than to serve and obey (...)
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  47. Robert C. Robinson (2006). Bounded Epistemology. Ssrn Elibrary.
    Game theory is a branch of economics that uses powerful mathematical models to predict what agents ought to do when interacting with other agents strategically. Bounded rationality is a sub-field of game theory that sets out to explain why, in some interesting cases, people don't act according their utility maximizing strategies, as described by game theory. Interactive Epistemology is formal tool used by Game Theorists and computer scientists to model interactive cases of knowledge. This interesting and useful tool has been (...)
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  48. Nils-Eric Sahlin, Annika Wallin & Johannes Persson (2010). Decision Science: From Ramsey to Dual Process Theories. Synthese 172 (1):129 - 143.
    The hypothesis that human reasoning and decision-making can be roughly modeled by Expected Utility Theory has been at the core of decision science. Accumulating evidence has led researchers to modify the hypothesis. One of the latest additions to the field is Dual Process theory, which attempts to explain variance between participants and tasks when it comes to deviations from Expected Utility Theory. It is argued that Dual Process theories at this point cannot replace previous theories, since they, among other things, (...)
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  49. Teddy Seidenfeld (1994). When Normal and Extensive Form Decisions Differ. In Dag Prawitz, Brian Skyrms & Dag Westerståhl (eds.), Logic, Methodology and Philosophy of Science. Elsevier. 451-463.
    The "traditional" view of normative decision theory, as reported (for example) in chapter 2 of Luce and RaiÃa's [1957] classic work, Games and Decisions, proposes a reduction of sequential decisions problems to non-sequential decisions: a reduction of extensive forms to normal forms. Nonetheless, this reduction is not without its critics, both from inside and outside expected utility theory, It islay purpose in this essay to join with those critics by advocating the following thesis.
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  50. Julius Sensat (1997). Game Theory and Rational Decision. Erkenntnis 47 (3):379-410.
    In its classical conception, game theory aspires to be a determinate decision theory for games, understood as elements of a structurally specified domain. Its aim is to determine for each game in the domain a complete solution to each player's decision problem, a solution valid for all real-world instantiations, regardless of context. “Permissiveness” would constrain the theory to designate as admissible for a player any conjecture consistent with the solution function's designation of admissible strategies for the other players. Given permissiveness (...)
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