Ramsey's Foundations Extended to Desirabilities

Theory and Decision 44 (3):231-278 (1998)
In his Truth and Probability (1926), Frank Ramsey provides foundations for measures of degrees of belief in propositions and preferences for worlds. Nonquantitative conditions on preferences for worlds, and gambles for worlds and certain near-worlds, are formulated which he says insure that a subject's preferences for worlds are represented by numbers, world values. Numbers, for his degrees of belief in propositions, probabilities, are then defined in terms of his world values. Ramsey does not also propose definitions of desirabilities for propositions, though he is in a position to do this. Given his measures for probabilities of propositions and values of worlds, he can frame natural definitions for both evidential and causal desirabilities that would measure respectively the welcomeness of propositions as items of news, and as facts. His theory is neutral with respect to the evidential/causal division. In the present paper, as Ramsey's foundations are explained, several problems and limitations are noted. Their distinctive virtue – their evidential/causal neutrality – is demonstrated. Comparisons are made with other foundational schemes, and a perspective is recommended from which nonquantitative foundations are not the be all for quantitative theories of ideal preferences and credences
Keywords Ramsey  Evidential and Causal decision theory  Probability  Foundations
Categories No categories specified
(categorize this paper)
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 9,351
External links
  • Through your library Configure
    References found in this work BETA

    No references found.

    Citations of this work BETA

    No citations found.

    Similar books and articles
    Till Grüne-Yanoff (2007). Proposition-Preferences and World-Preferences. The Proceedings of the Twenty-First World Congress of Philosophy 5:147-152.
    Sam Cowling (2011). The Limits of Modality. Philosophical Quarterly 61 (244):473-495.
    Greg Restall (1997). Ways Things Can't Be. Notre Dame Journal of Formal Logic 38 (4):583-596.
    Jeffrey C. King (2013). On Fineness of Grain. Philosophical Studies 163 (3):763-781.

    Monthly downloads

    Added to index


    Total downloads

    2 ( #258,148 of 1,088,388 )

    Recent downloads (6 months)


    How can I increase my downloads?

    My notes
    Sign in to use this feature

    Start a new thread
    There  are no threads in this forum
    Nothing in this forum yet.