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  1. Arif Ahmed (2010). Causation and Decision. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 110 (2pt2):111-131.
    Sophisticated ‘tickle’-style defences of Evidential Decision Theory take your motivational state to screen off your act from any state that is causally independent of it, thus ensuring that EDT and CDT converge. That leads to unacceptable instability in cases in which the correct action is obvious. We need a more liberal conception of what the agent controls. It follows that an ordinary deliberator should sometimes consider the past and not only the future to be subject to her present choice.
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  2. J. McKenzie Alexander (2010). Local Interactions and the Dynamics of Rational Deliberation. Philosophical Studies 147 (1):103 - 121.
    Whereas The Stag Hunt and the Evolution of Social Structure supplements Evolution of the Social Contract by examining some of the earlier work’s strategic problems in a local interaction setting, no equivalent supplement exists for The Dynamics of Rational Deliberation . In this article, I develop a general framework for modeling the dynamics of rational deliberation in a local interaction setting. In doing so, I show that when local interactions are permitted, three interesting phenomena occur: (a) the attracting deliberative equilibria (...)
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  3. Jake Chandler (forthcoming). Subjective Probabilities Need Not Be Sharp. Erkenntnis:1-14.
    It is well known that classical, aka ‘sharp’, Bayesian decision theory, which models belief states as single probability functions, faces a number of serious difficulties with respect to its handling of agnosticism. These difficulties have led to the increasing popularity of so-called ‘imprecise’ models of decision-making, which represent belief states as sets of probability functions. In a recent paper, however, Adam Elga has argued in favour of a putative normative principle of sequential choice that he claims to be borne out (...)
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  4. Franz Dietrich, How to Reach Legitimate Decisions When the Procedure is Controversial.
    Imagine a group that faces a decision problem but does not agree on which decision procedure is appropriate. In that case, can a decision be reached that respects the procedural concerns of the group? There is a sense in which legitimate decisions are possible even if people disagree on which procedure to use. I propose to decide in favour of an option which maximizes the number of persons whose judged-right procedure happens to entail this decision given the profile. This decision (...)
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  5. James Dreier (2004). Decision Theory and Morality. In Piers Rawling & Al Mele (eds.), Oxford Handbook of Rationality. Oxford. 156--181.
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  6. Gary Malinas (2006). Two Envelope Problems. The Proceedings of the Twenty-First World Congress of Philosophy 9:153-158.
    When decision makers have more to gain than to lose by changing their minds, and that is the only relevant fact, they thereby have a reason to change their minds. While this is sage advice, it is silent on when one stands more to gain than to lose. The two envelope paradox provides a case where the appearance of advantage in changing your mind is resilient despite being a chimera. Setups that are unproblematically modeled by decision tables that are used (...)
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  7. Gary Malinas (1993). Reflective Coherence and Newcomb Problems: A Simple Solution. Theory and Decision 35 (2):151-166.
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  8. Peter K. Mcinerney (2006). Pollock on Rational Choice and Trying. Philosophical Studies 129 (2):253 - 261.
    In everyday life people frequently recognize that a person at a time may be more or less strongly motivated to carry out an intentional action and that “trying harder” frequently affects the successful completion of an intentional action. In “Rational Choice and Action Omnipotence,” John Pollock provides an original account of rational choice in which “trying to do an action” is a basic factor. This paper argues that Pollock’s “expected-utility optimality prescription” is deficient because it lacks a parameter for intensity (...)
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  9. Wlodek Rabinowicz (2001). A Centipede for Intransitive Preferrers. Studia Logica 67 (2):167-178.
    In the standard money pump, an agent with cyclical preferences can avoid exploitation if he shows foresight and solves his sequential decision problem using backward induction (BI). This way out is foreclosed in a modified money pump, which has been presented in Rabinowicz (2000). There, BI will lead the agent to behave in a self-defeating way. The present paper describes another sequential decision problem of this kind, the Centipede for an Intransitive Preferrer, which in some respects is even more striking (...)
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  10. Wlodek Rabinowicz (1997). On Seidenfeld‘s Criticism of Sophisticated Violations of the Independence Axiom. Theory and Decision 43 (3):279-292.
    An agent who violates independence can avoid dynamic inconsistency in sequential choice if he is sophisticated enough to make use of backward induction in planning. However, Seidenfeld has demonstrated that such a sophisticated agent with dependent preferences is bound to violate the principle of dynamic substitution, according to which admissibility of a plan is preserved under substitution of indifferent options at various choice nodes in the decision tree. Since Seidenfeld considers dynamic substitution to be a coherence condition on dynamic choice, (...)
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  11. John J. Tilley (1996). Prisoner's Dilemma From a Moral Point of View. Theory and Decision 41 (2):187-193.
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Decision Theory and Ethics
  1. Glen O. Allen (1982). Formal Decision Theory and Majority Rule. Ethics 92 (2):199-206.
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  2. Frank Arntzenius & David McCarthy (1997). Self Torture and Group Beneficence. Erkenntnis 47 (1):129-144.
    Moral puzzles about actions which bring about very small or what are said to be imperceptible harms or benefits for each of a large number of people are well known. Less well known is an argument by Warren Quinn that standard theories of rationality can lead an agent to end up torturing himself or herself in a completely foreseeable way, and that this shows that standard theories of rationality need to be revised. We show where Quinn's argument goes wrong, and (...)
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  3. Robert Bass, Small Contributions.
    Many of the world's problems--severe poverty and starvation, global warming, religious war, oppressive and tyrannical regimes--are large, well beyond what any ordinary person might have a significant impact upon. We are at most in a position to make small contributions. This fact is behind a seductive argument: there is nothing we can do about the large problems; since we cannot do anything about the large problems, it is not true that we ought to do anything; therefore, we can, in good (...)
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  4. John Bigelow, Susan M. Dodds & Robert Pargetter (1990). Temptation and the Will. American Philosophical Quarterly 27 (1):39-49.
    The authors argue, against Frank Jackson, that weakness (and strength) of will involves higher-order mental states. The authors hold that this is compatible with a decision-theoretic belief-desire psychology of human action.
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  5. Hugh Breakey (2009). The Epistemic and Informational Requirements of Utilitarianism. Utilitas 21 (1):72-99.
    A recurring objection confronting utilitarianism is that its dictates require information that lies beyond the bounds of human epistemic wherewithal. Utilitarians require reliable knowledge of the social consequences of various policies, and of people’s preferences and utilities. Agreeing partway with the sceptics, I concur that the general rules-of-thumb offered by social science do not provide sufficient justification for the utilitarian legislator to rationally recommend a particular political regime, such as liberalism. Actual data about human preference-structures and utilities is required to (...)
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  6. Mark Colyvan, Damian Cox & Katie Steele (2010). Modelling the Moral Dimension of Decisions. Noûs 44 (3):503-529.
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  7. Mark Colyvan & Katie Steele, Environmental Ethics and Decision Theory: Fellow Travellers or Bitter Enemies?
    On the face of it, ethics and decision theory give quite different advice about what the best course of action is in a given situation. In this paper we examine this alleged conflict in the realm of environmental decision-making. We focus on a couple of places where ethics and decision theory might be thought to be offering conflicting advice: environmental triage and carbon trading. We argue that the conflict can be seen as conflicts about other things (like appropriate temporal scales (...)
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  8. 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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  9. Fred Feldman (2006). Actual Utility, the Objection From Impracticality, and the Move to Expected Utility. Philosophical Studies 129 (1):49 - 79.
  10. James Franklin & S. Sisson, Assessment of Strategies for Evaluating Extreme Risks.
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  11. 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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  12. Peter J. Hammond (1988). Consequentialist Foundations for Expected Utility. Theory and Decision 25 (1):25-78.
    Behaviour norms are considered for decision trees which allow both objective probabilities and uncertain states of the world with unknown probabilities. Terminal nodes have consequences in a given domain. Behaviour is required to be consistent in subtrees. Consequentialist behaviour, by definition, reveals a consequence choice function independent of the structure of the decision tree. It implies that behaviour reveals a revealed preference ordering satisfying both the independence axiom and a novel form of sure-thing principle. Continuous consequentialist behaviour must be expected (...)
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  13. Sven Ove Hansson (2010). The Harmful Influence of Decision Theory on Ethics. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 13 (5):585-593.
    In the last half century, decision theory has had a deep influence on moral theory. Its impact has largely been beneficial. However, it has also given rise to some problems, two of which are discussed here. First, issues such as risk-taking and risk imposition have been left out of ethics since they are believed to belong to decision theory, and consequently the ethical aspects of these issues have not been treated in either discipline. Secondly, ethics has adopted the decision-theoretical idea (...)
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  14. John C. Harsanyi (1977). Rule Utilitarianism and Decision Theory. Erkenntnis 11 (1):25 - 53.
    The purpose of this paper is to show how some of the controversial questions concerning utilitarianism can be clarified by the modelling techniques and the other analytical tools of decision theory (and, sometimes, of game theory). It is suggested that the moral rules of utilitarian ethics have a logical status similar to that of the normative rules (theorems) of such formal normative disciplines as decision theory and game theory.The paper argues that social utility should be defined, not in hedonistic or (...)
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  15. Conrad Heilmann (2014). Success Conditions for Nudges: A Methodological Critique of Libertarian Paternalism. European Journal for Philosophy of Science 4 (1):1-20.
    This paper provides a methodological analysis of Libertarian Paternalism, as put forward in the book Nudge by Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein (Yale University Press, 2008). Libertarian Paternalism aims to use the accumulated findings of behavioural economics in order to assist decision-makers to make better choices. The philosophical debate about this proposal has focused on normative issues with regards to this proposal. This paper analyses Libertarian Paternalism descriptively and points out four methodological conditions for successful Nudges. On that basis, a (...)
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  16. Ruth B. Hoppe (1983). Decision Theory and Health Resource Allocations. Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 4 (2).
    If it can be agreed that health care resources are finite, it follows that choices between competing needs must be made. Cost utility analysis is an application of decision theory which has been proposed as a strategy for making difficult social decisions about health resource allocations. This method is heavily dependent upon the measurement of social utilities for various health outcomes. Recent work in cognitive psychology suggests that there are important sources of distortion in such measurement. Ethical implications of application (...)
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  17. Frank Jackson (1991). Decision-Theoretic Consequentialism and the Nearest and Dearest Objection. Ethics 101 (3):461-482.
  18. Stephen R. Latham (2006). Some Limits of Decision-Theory in Bioethics: Rights, Ends, and Thick Concepts. American Journal of Bioethics 6 (3):56 – 58.
  19. Ted Lockhart (2000). Moral Uncertainty and its Consequences. Oxford University Press.
    We are often uncertain how to behave morally in complex situations. In this controversial study, Ted Lockhart contends that moral philosophy has failed to address how we make such moral decisions. Adapting decision theory to the task of decision-making under moral uncertainly, he proposes that we should not always act how we feel we ought to act, and that sometimes we should act against what we feel to be morally right. Lockhart also discusses abortion extensively and proposes new ways to (...)
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  20. Christoph Lumer (2010). Introduction: The Relevance of Rational Decision Theory for Ethics. [REVIEW] Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 13 (5):485-496.
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  21. Christoph Lumer (2010). Moral Desirability and Rational Decision. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 13 (5):561-584.
    Being a formal and general as well as the most widely accepted approach to practical rationality, rational decision theory should be crucial for justifying rational morals. In particular, acting morally should also (nearly always) be rational in decision theoretic terms. After defending this thesis, in the critical part of the paper two strategies to develop morals following this insight are criticized: game theoretical ethics of cooperation and ethical intuitionism. The central structural objections to ethics of cooperation are that they too (...)
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  22. David McCarthy (2008). Utilitarianism and Prioritarianism II. Economics and Philosophy 24 (1):1-33.
    A natural formalization of the priority view is presented which results from adding expected utility theory to the main ideas of the priority view. The result is ex post prioritarianism. But ex post prioritarianism entails that in a world containing just one person, it is sometimes better for that person to do what is strictly worse for herself. This claim may appear to be implausible. But the deepest objection to ex post prioritarianism has to do with meaning: ex post prioritarianism (...)
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  23. David McCarthy (2007). Measuring Life's Goodness. Philosophical Books 48 (4):303-319.
    Philosophers often assume that we can somehow quantitatively measure how good things are for people. But what does such talk mean? And what are the measures? In *Weighing Goods* John Broome offers one treatment of these questions. In his later *Weighing Lives* he offers a different treatment. This article discusses both positions but advocates a third. But while the three positions disagree about matters of meaning, they agree about the form of the measures. Roughly speaking, they are such that the (...)
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  24. Paul McNamara (2004). Review: Agency and Deontic Logic. [REVIEW] Mind 113 (449):179-185.
  25. Philippe Mongin (2001). The Impartial Observer Theorem of Social Ethics. Economics and Philosophy 17 (2):147-179.
    Following a long-standing philosophical tradition, impartiality is a distinctive and determining feature of moral judgments, especially in matters of distributive justice. This broad ethical tradition was revived in welfare economics by Vickrey, and above all, Harsanyi, under the form of the so-called Impartial Observer Theorem. The paper offers an analytical reconstruction of this argument and a step-wise philosophical critique of its premisses. It eventually provides a new formal version of the theorem based on subjective probability.
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  26. Russell Pannier (1999). 11. Decision Theory and Life Choices. Logos 2 (4).
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  27. David Schmidtz, Decision Theory, Environmental Ethics.
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  28. Andrew Sepielli (2009). What to Do When You Don't Know What to Do. Oxford Studies in Metaethics 4:5-28.
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  29. Brian Weatherson (2002). Review: Moral Uncertainty and its Consequences. [REVIEW] Mind 111 (443):693-696.
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  30. Dominic Wilkinson (2009). The Window of Opportunity: Decision Theory and the Timing of Prognostic Tests for Newborn Infants. Bioethics 23 (9):503-514.
    In many forms of severe acute brain injury there is an early phase when prognosis is uncertain, followed later by physiological recovery and the possibility of more certain predictions of future impairment. There may be a window of opportunity for withdrawal of life support early, but if decisions are delayed there is the risk that the patient will survive with severe impairment. In this paper I focus on the example of neonatal encephalopathy and the question of the timing of prognostic (...)
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  31. Tomasz Żuradzki (2013). Ślepy traf a preimplantacyjna diagnostyka genetyczna. Przeglad Filozoficzny - Nowa Seria 22 (1):31-46.
    Wedle Stanowiska Komitetu Bioetyki przy Prezydium PAN nr 2/2012 z dnia 8. czerwca 2012 r. w sprawie preimplantacyjnej diagnostyki genetycznej (PDG) jednym z głównych problemów wiążących się z prawnym uregulowaniem PDG jest nierozstrzygalność sporu na temat statusu moralnego ludzkich zarodków. Stanowisko i zgłoszone do niego zdania odrębne stwierdzają, że ci, którzy uznają, że wczesne zarodki mają pełny status moralny, nie mogą się zgodzić na diagnostykę preimplantacyjną. W artykule pokazuję, że przyjęcie nawet skrajnie konserwatywnego poglądu na status wczesnych embrionów ludzkich, czyli (...)
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Infinite Decision Theory
  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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