Pitfalls for realistic decision theory: an illustration from sequential choice

Synthese 176 (1):23 - 40 (2010)
Decision theory is a theory of rationality, but the concept of rationality has several different dimensions. Making decision theory more realistic with respect to one dimension may well have the result of making it less realistic in another dimension. This paper illustrates this tension in the context of sequential choice. Trying to make decision theory more realistic by accommodating resoluteness and commitment brings the normative assessment dimension of rationality into conflict with the action-guiding dimension. In the case of resolute choice the conflict comes because of a clash of perspectives. The perspective from which resolute choice seems normatively compelling is not the perspective from which it can serve the purpose of guiding action
Keywords Rationality  Decision theory  Sequential choice  Resolute choice  Sophisticated choice
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John Broome (2004). Weighing Lives. Oxford University Press.

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