Causal Decision Theory (CDT) cares only about the effects of a contemplated act, not its causes. The paper constructs a case in which CDT consequently recommends a bet that the agent is certain to lose, rather than a bet that she is certain to win. CDT is plainly giving wrong advice in this case. It therefore stands refuted.
Is Bayesian decision theory a panacea for many of the problems in epistemology and the philosophy of science, or is it philosophical snake-oil? For years a debate had been waged amongst specialists regarding the import and legitimacy of this body of theory. Mark Kaplan had written the first accessible and non-technical book to address this controversy. Introducing a new variant on Bayesian decision theory the author offers a compelling case that, while no panacea, decision theory does in (...) fact have the most profound consequences for the way in which philosophers think about inquiry, criticism and rational belief. The new variant on Bayesian theory is presented in such a way that a non-specialist will be able to understand it. The book also offers new solutions to some classic paradoxes. It focuses on the intuitive motivations of the Bayesian approach to epistemology and addresses the philosophical worries to which it has given rise. (shrink)
This up-to-date introduction to decision theory offers comprehensive and accessible discussions of decision-making under ignorance and risk, the foundations of utility theory, the debate over subjective and objective probability, Bayesianism, causal decision theory, game theory, and social choice theory. No mathematical skills are assumed, and all concepts and results are explained in non-technical and intuitive as well as more formal ways. There are over 100 exercises with solutions, and a glossary of key terms and concepts. An emphasis (...) on foundational aspects of normative decision theory (rather than descriptive decision theory) makes the book particularly useful for philosophy students, but it will appeal to readers in a range of disciplines including economics, psychology, political science and computer science. • Has over 100 end of chapter review questions and exercises with solutions • Includes a chapter on how to draw a decision matrix • Explains the link between individual decision making, game theory and social choice theory Contents Preface; 1. Introduction; 2. The decision matrix; 3. Decisions under ignorance; 4. Decisions under risk; 5. Utility; 6. The mathematics of probability; 7. The philosophy of probability; 8. Why should we accept the preference axioms; 9. Causal vs. evidential decision theory; 10. Bayesian vs. non-Bayesian decision theory; 11. Game theory I: basic concepts and zero sum games; 12. Game theory II: nonzero sum and co-operative games; 13. Social choice theory; 14. Overview of descriptive decision theory; Appendix A. Glossary; Appendix B. Proof of the von Neumann-Morgenstern theorem; Further reading; Index. (shrink)
A persistent argument against the transitivity assumption of rational choice theory postulates a repeatable action that generates a significant benefit at the expense of a negligible cost. No matter how many times the action has been taken, it therefore seems reasonable for a decision-maker to take the action one more time. However, matters are so fixed that the costs of taking the action some large number of times outweigh the benefits. In taking the action some large number of times (...) on the grounds that the benefits outweigh the costs every time, the decision-maker therefore reveals intransitive preferences, since once she has taken it this large number of times, she would prefer to return to the situation in which she had never taken the action at all. We defend transitivity against two versions of this argument: one in which it is assumed that taking the action one more time never has any perceptible cost, and one in which it is assumed that the cost of taking the action, though (sometimes) perceptible, is so small as to be outweighed at every step by the significant benefit. We argue that the description of the choice situation in the first version involves a contradiction. We also argue that the reasoning used in the second version is a form of similarity-based decision-making. We argue that when the consequences of using similarity-based decision-making are brought to light, rational decision-makers revise their preferences. We also discuss one method that might be used in performing this revision. (shrink)
We describe an evaluation undertaken on contract for the New Zealand State Services Commission of a major project (the Administrative Decision-Making Skills Project) designed to produce a model of administrative decision making and an associated teaching/learning packagefor use by government officers. It describes the evaluation of a philosophical model of decision making and the associated teaching/learning package in the setting of the New Zealand Public Service, where a deliberate attempt has been initiated to improve the quality of (...)decision making, especially in relation to moral factors. (shrink)
What role does reason play in our actions? How do we know whether what we do is right? Can practical reasoning guide ethical judgment? Practical Reasoning and Ethical Decision presents an account of practical reasoning as a process that can explain action, connect reasoning with intention, justify practical judgments, and provide a basis for ethical decisions. The first part of the book is a detailed critical overview of the influential theories of practical reasoning found in Aristotle, Hume, and Kant. (...) The second part examines practical reasoning in the light of important topics in moral psychology-weakness of will, self-deception, rationalization, and others. In the third part, Audi describes the role of moral principles in practical reasoning and clarifies the way practical reasoning underlies ethical decisions. He formulates a comprehensive set of concrete ethical principles, explains how they apply to reasoning about what to do, and shows how practical reasoning guides moral conduct. Practical Reasoning and Ethical Decision provides the most comprehensive account of the topic in the current literature and is essential reading for anyone interested in the role of reason in ethics or the nature of human action. (shrink)
In this paper, I present a decision procedure for evaluating arguments expressed in natural language. I think that other instructors of informal logic and critical thinking might find this decision procedure to be a useful addition to their teaching resources.
Now in its fourth edition, Rational Diagnosis and Treatment: Evidence-Based Clinical Decision-Making is a unique book to look at evidence-based medicine and the difficulty of applying evidence from group studies to individual patients._ The book analyses the successive stages of the decision process and deals with topics such as the examination of the patient,_the reliability of clinical data, the logic of diagnosis, the fallacies of uncontrolled therapeutic experience and the need for randomised clinical trials and meta-analyses. It is (...) the main theme of the book that, whenever possible, clinical decisions must be based on the evidence from clinical research, but the authors also explain the pitfalls of such research and the problems involved in applying evidence from groups of patients to the individual patient._ For this new edition, the sections on placebo and meta-analysis and on alternative medicine have been thoroughly updated, and there is more focus on insufficient reporting of harms of interventions. The sections on different research designs describe advantages and limitations, and the increased medicalisation and the effects of cancer screening on health people are noted. A section on academic freedom when clinicians collaborate with industry and ghost authors is added._ This essential reference work integrates the science and statistical approach of evidence-based medicine with the art and humanism of medical practice; distinguishing between data, sets of data, knowledge and wisdom, and their application. Such an intellectually challenging book is ideal for both medical students and doctors who require theoretical and practical clinical skills to help ensure that they apply theory in practice. (shrink)
A fundamental assumption of theories of decision-making is that we detect mismatches between intention and outcome, adjust our behavior in the face of error, and adapt to changing circumstances. Is this always the case? We investigated the relation between intention, choice, and introspection. Participants made choices between presented face pairs on the basis of attractiveness, while we covertly manipulated the relationship between choice and outcome that they experienced. Participants failed to notice conspicuous mismatches between their intended choice and the (...) outcome they were presented with, while nevertheless offering introspectively derived reasons for why they chose the way they did. We call this effect choice blindness. (shrink)
This paper inaugurates a discussion about the phenomenology of union decision-making. Phenomenology provides a new lens that may enable us to gain penetrating insights into how unions function in the fractious world of human resources management. The present paper is preliminary to any fieldwork that may be undertaken. Its main purposes are to identify theory that could be the foundation of further practical work, relate recent work in the phenomenology of management to union practices and to propose directions of (...) enquiry. The relevant theory is that of Edmund Husserl who provides us with a practical method of enquiry into the real world of human resource practice. Husserl’s work has already been applied in relation to local government functioning and some of the findings there appear relevant to the present enquiry. In particular, the nature and role of plebiscites. (shrink)
In this book, Isaac Levi denies this assumption, arguing instead that agents often should choose without having balanced the competing values and that rationality does not require that an act be optimal, only that it be what Levi terms 'admissible'. He explains the consequences of denying this assumption, and develops a general approach to decision making under unresolved conflict. He investigates the phenomenon of conflicting values in several areas, in each of which he develops a framework for rational deliberation (...) between options. The bearing of the theory on moral dilemmas, scientific inference, decision making under risk and uncertainty, and theories of social welfare are all considered. (shrink)
In this study I discuss G. W. Leibniz's (1646-1716) views on rational decision-making from the standpoint of both God and man. The Divine decision takes place within creation, as God freely chooses the best from an infinite number of possible worlds. While God's choice is based on absolutely certain knowledge, human decisions on practical matters are mostly based on uncertain knowledge. However, in many respects they could be regarded as analogous in more complicated situations. In addition to giving (...) an overview of the divine decision-making and discussing critically the criteria God favours in his choice, I provide an account of Leibniz's views on human deliberation, which includes some new ideas. One of these concerns is the importance of estimating probabilities – in making decisions one estimates both the goodness of the act itself and its consequences as far as the desired good is concerned. Another idea is related to the plurality of goods in complicated decisions and the competition this may provoke. Thirdly, heuristic models are used to sketch situations under deliberation in order to help in making the decision. Combining the views of Marcelo Dascal, Jaakko Hintikka and Simo Knuuttila, I argue that Leibniz applied two kinds of models of rational decision-making to practical controversies, often without explicating the details. The more simple, traditional pair of scales model is best suited to cases in which one has to decide for or against some option, or to distribute goods among parties and strive for a compromise. What may be of more help in more complicated deliberations is the novel vectorial model, which is an instance of the general mathematical doctrine of the calculus of variations. To illustrate this distinction, I discuss some cases in which he apparently applied these models in different kinds of situation. These examples support the view that the models had a systematic value in his theory of practical rationality. (shrink)
Orthodox decision theory gives no advice to agents who hold two goods to be incomparable in value, because such agents will have negatively intransitive preferences. According to standard treatments, such agents are irrational, despite widespread evidence of incomparable goods in ordinary life. Prospectism is a recent proposal, due to Caspar Hare, to extend standard decision theory so as to cope with incomparability in general, and negatively intransitive preferences in particular. In this paper, we argue that prospectism is inadequate, (...) on three grounds. First, prospectism conflates decision scenarios that, intuitively, rational agents may permissibly treat as different. Second, prospectism leads to violations of a principle of rationality closely related to dominance. Finally, we suggest that what little intuitive appeal prospectism has can be diagnosed as arising from a psychological heuristic that has no normative status. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to challenge the claim that the neural activity commonly referred to as 'readiness potential' constitutes evidence for the unconscious initiation of action. Although I accept that such neural activity seriously challenges the commonly held view that one's sense of volition is causally efficacious, I nevertheless contend that much of our everyday engagement with the world is consciously initiated. Thus, a distinction is made between awareness and what the awareness is of: the latter constituting the (...) conscious decision to act in accordance with one's goal, or what I have termed intentional project. Initiation of an action in accordance with one's intentional project grounds the action in meaning, something that would be lacking in an exclusively unconscious decision to act. (shrink)
Leibniz frequently argued that reasons are to be weighed against each other as in a pair of scales, as Professor Marcelo Dascal has shown in his article "The Balance of Reason." In this kind of weighing it is not necessary to reach demonstrative certainty – one need only judge whether the reasons weigh more on behalf of one or the other option However, a different kind of account about rational decision-making can be found in some of Leibniz's writings. In (...) his article "Was Leibniz's Deity an Akrates?" Professor Jaakko Hintikka has argued that Leibniz developed a new vectorial model for rational decisions which is better suited to complicated decisions, where values are complementary to each other. This model, related closely to his work in metaphysics and the philosophy of mind, is a heuristic device which helps in finding rational combinations - and in an ideal case an optimum - between plural inclinations to the good. I shall argue that Leibniz applies more or less implicitly both of these models in his practical rationality. In simple situations he applied the pair of scales model and in more complicated situations he applied the vectorial model. (shrink)
Rapid advances in neuroscience may enable us to identify the neural correlates of ordinary decision making. Such knowledge opens up the possibility of acquiring highly accurate information about people’s competence to consent to medical procedures and to participate in medical research. Currently we are unable to determine competence to consent with accuracy and we make a number of unrealistic practical assumptions to deal with our ignorance. Here I argue that if we are able to detect competence to consent and (...) if we are able to develop a reliable neural test of competence to consent, then these assumptions will have to be rejected. I also consider and reject three lines of argument that might be developed by a defender of the status quo in order to protect our current practices regarding judgments of competence in the face of the availability of information about the neural correlates of ordinary human decision making. (shrink)
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 and other appropriate constraints, solution sets must contain only Nash equilibria and at least one pure-strategy equilibrium, and there is no solution to games in which no symmetry invariant set of pure-strategy equilibria forms a Cartesian product. These results imply that the classical program is unrealizable. Moreover, the program is implicitly committed to permissiveness, through its common-knowledge assumptions and its commitment to equilibrium. The resulting incoherence deeply undermines the classical conception in a way that consolidates a long series of contextualist criticisms. (shrink)
Issues concerning patients' rights are at the center of bioethics, but the political basis for these rights has rarely been examined. In Bioethics in a Liberal Society: The Political Framework of Bioethics Decision Making , Thomas May offers a compelling analysis of how the political context of liberal constitutional democracy shapes the rights and obligations of both patients and health care professionals. May focuses on how a key feature of liberal society -- namely, an individual's right to make independent (...) decisions -- has an impact on the most important relational facets of health care, such as patients' autonomy and professionals' rights of conscience. Although a liberal political framework protects individual judgments, May asserts that this right is based on the assumption of an individual's competency to make sound decisions. May uses case studies to examine society's approach to medical decision making when, for reasons ranging from age to severe mental disorder, a person lacks sufficient competency to make independent and fully informed choices. To protect the autonomy of these vulnerable patients, May emphasizes the need for health care ethics committees and ethics consultants to help guide the decision-making process in clinical settings. Bioethics in a Liberal Society is essential reading for all those interested in understanding how bioethics is practiced within our society. (shrink)
Unconscious thought theory (UTT) states that all information is taken into account and the attributes are weighted optimally resulting in better decisions in complex decision problems during unconscious thought. Very few studies have investigated the actual amount of information processed in the unconscious thought condition. We hypothesized that only a small subset of information might be considered during unconscious thought (like conscious thought). To test this possibility and to explore the way attribute information is selected and combined, we performed (...) computer simulations on the datasets used by previous researchers. The simulations showed that considering a small subset (3-4) of attributes, yields results comparable to previous studies. There is no need to posit infinite capacity in the unconscious thought condition. The results also suggest that weight information is used for attribute selection that could potentially explain the difficulties in replicating the deliberation-without-attention effect. (shrink)
Newell and Shanks (2012) argue that an explanation for blindsight need not appeal to unconscious brain processes, citing research indicating that the condition merely reflects degraded visual experience. We reply that other evidence suggests that blindsighters’ predictive behavior under forced choice reflects cognitive access to low-level visual information that does not correlate with visual consciousness. Thus, while we grant that visual consciousness may be required for full visual experience, we argue that it may not be needed for decision making (...) and judgment. (shrink)
PREVIOUS WORK Theoretical discussion of the interval measurement of utility based upon theories of decision making under conditions of risk has been voluminous and will not be reviewed here. Those interested will find extensive ...
Can findings from psychology and cognitive neuroscience about the neural mechanisms involved in decision-making can tell us anything useful about the commonly-understood mental phenomenon of making voluntary choices? Two philosophical objections are considered. First, that the neural data is subpersonal, and so cannot enter into illuminating explanations of personal level phenomena like voluntary action. Secondly, that mental properties are multiply realized in the brain in such a way as to make them insusceptible to neuroscientific study. The paper argues that (...) both objections would be weakened by the discovery of empirical generalisations connecting subpersonal properties with the personal level. It gives three case studies that furnish evidence to that effect. It argues that the existence of such interrelations are consistent with a plausible construal of the personal-subpersonal distinction. Furthermore, there is no reason to suppose that the notion subpersonal representation relied on in cognitive neuroscience illicitly imports personal-level phenomena like consciousness or normativity, or is otherwise explanatorily problematic. (shrink)
This article focuses on both daily forms of weakness of will as discussed in the philosophical debate (usually referred to as akrasia) and psychopathological phenomena as impairments of decision making. We argue that both descriptions of dysfunctional decision making can be organized within a common theoretical framework that divides the decision making process in three different stages: option generation, option selection, and action initiation. We first discuss our theoretical framework (building on existing models of decision-making stages), (...) focusing on option generation as an aspect that has been neglected by previous models. In the main body of this article, we review how both philosophy and neuropsychiatry have provided accounts of dysfunction in each decision-making stage, as well as where these accounts can be integrated. Also, the neural underpinnings of dysfunction in the three different stages are discussed. We conclude by discussing advantages and limitations of our integrative approach. (shrink)
Introduction: Responsibility and choice -- The idea of moral responsibility -- Complex choice situations -- Differing types of responsibility -- Hans Jonas' idea of "caring for beings" -- The moral experience of women -- Criticizing rational choice -- The rational choice model 5 -- Bounded rationality -- Myopic and deficient choices -- Violations of the axioms -- Rational fools -- The strategic role of emotions -- Social norms -- The communitarian challenge -- Duty, self-interest, and love -- Responsible decision (...) making -- Norms, goals, and stakeholders -- Choice as problem solving -- Ethical norms -- Who are the stakeholders? -- Co-evolving goals and alternatives -- Responsibility and the diversity of choices -- Rationality and respect -- Deontology -- Choices people can make -- The psychology of choice -- Prospect theory -- The "matching law" -- Incommensurability -- Modeling responsible decision making -- What is a responsible decision? -- Deontological payoffs -- Goal-achievement values -- Payoffs for the stakeholders -- Evaluation from multiple perspectives -- The maximin rule -- A geometric representation -- The procedural model -- Real world cases -- Donna's case -- The Ford Pinto case -- The World Bank environmental policy -- Applications in economics and public policy -- Responsibility and social justice -- The paradox of a paretian liberal -- Res ponsible agency in prisoner's dilemma situations -- Multidimensional cost-benefit analysis -- Ethical and social performance of business -- Nature, society, and future generations -- Epilogue: The responsible person. (shrink)
Rational decision making depends on what one believes, what one desires, and what one knows. In conventional decision models, beliefs are represented by probabilities and desires are represented by utilities. Software agents are knowledgeable entities capable of managing their own set of beliefs and desires, and they can decide upon the next operation to execute autonomously. They are also interactive entities capable of filtering communications and managing dialogues. Knowledgeability includes representing knowledge about the external world, reasoning with it, (...) and sharing it. Interactions include negotiations to perform tasks in cooperative, coordinative, and competitive ways. In this paper we focus on decision-making mechanisms for agent-based systems on the basis of agent interaction. We identify possible interaction scenarios and define mechanisms for decision making in uncertain environments. It is believed that software agents will become the underlying technology that offers the capability of distribution of competence, control, and information for the next generation of ubiquitous, distributed, and heterogeneous information systems. (shrink)
Every day nurses are required to make ethical decisions in the course of caring for their patients. Ethics in Nursing Practice provides the background necessary to understand ethical decision making and its implications for patient care. The authors focus on the individual nurse’s responsibilities, as well as considering the wider issues affecting patients, colleagues and society as a whole. This third edition is fully updated, and takes into account recent changes in ICN position statements, WHO documents, as well as (...) addressing current issues in healthcare, such as providing for the health and care needs of refugees and asylum seekers, bioethics and the enforcement of nursing codes. (shrink)
Integrating theory with case studies, this book examines the practical application of moral theory in clinical decision-making through 40 composite cases based on actual clinical experience. Complex, realistic, and challenging, these examples contain the multiplicity of factors faced in clinical crises, making this a superb exploration of the ways in which theory relates to actual life-or-death situations.
The paper argues that on three out of five possible hypotheses about the Stern-Gerlach experiment we can construct novel and comparatively realistic decision problems on which (a) Causal decision Theory and Evidential Decision Theory conflict (b) Causal Decision Theory and Quantum Mechanics conflict. It concludes that Causal Decision Theory is false.
Background Following passage of the Patient Self Determination Act in 1990, health care institutions that receive Medicare and Medicaid funding are required to inform patients of their right to make their health care preferences known through execution of a living will and/or to appoint a surrogate-decision maker. We evaluated the impact of external factors and perceived patient preferences on physicians’ decisions to honor or forgo previously established advance directives (ADs). In addition, physician views regarding legal risk, patients’ ability to (...) comprehend complexities involved with their care, and impact of medical costs related to end-of-life care decisions were explored. Methods Attendees of two Mayo Clinic continuing medical education courses were surveyed. Three scenarios based in part on previously court-litigated matters assessed impact of external factors and perceived patient preferences on physician compliance with patient-articulated wishes regarding resuscitation. General questions measured respondents’ perception of legal risk, concerns over patient knowledge of idiosyncrasies involved with their care, and impact medical costs may have on compliance with patient preferences. Responses indicating strength of agreement or disagreement with statements were treated as ordinal data and analyzed using the Cochran Armitage trend test. Results Three hundred eighty-eight of 951 surveys were completed (41% response rate). Eighty percent reported they were likely to honor a patient’s AD despite its 5 year age. Fewer than half (41%) would honor the AD of a patient in ventricular fibrillation who had expressed a desire to “pass away in peace.” Few (17%) would forgo an AD following a family’s request for continued resuscitative treatment. A majority (52%) considered risk of liability to be lower when maintaining someone alive against their wishes than mistakenly failing to provide resuscitative efforts. A large percentage (74%) disagreed that patients could not appreciate complexities surrounding their care while 69% agreed that costs should never impact a physician’s decision as to whether to comply with a patient’s AD. Conclusions Our findings highlight the impact, albeit small, external factors have on physician AD compliance. Most respondents based their decision on the clinical situation at hand and interpretation of the patient’s initial wishes and preferences expressed by the AD. (shrink)
This book is a unique introductory overview of decision theory. It is completely non-technical, without a single formula in the book. Written in a crisp and clear style it succinctly covers the full range of philosophical issues of rationality and decision theory, including game theory, social choice theory, prisoner's dilemma and much else. The book aims to expand the scope and enrich the foundations of decision theory. By addressing such issues as ambivalence, inner conflict, and the constraints (...) imposed upon us by our attachments to others, Frederic Schick reveals that our thinking is often more subtle than standard theories of rationality allow. Only a theory that respects that subtlety can illumine what is otherwise puzzling. The book contains many examples drawn from history and literature dealing with subjects such as love, war, friendship, and crime. (shrink)
Decision making is a key activity, perhaps the most important activity, in the practice of healthcare. Although physicians acquire a great deal of knowledge and specialised skills during their training and through their practice, it is in the exercise of clinical judgement and its application to individual patients that the outstanding physician is distinguished. This has become even more relevant as patients become increasingly welcomed as partners in a shared decision making process. This book translates the research and (...) theory from the science of decision making into clinically useful tools and principles that can be applied by clinicians in the field. It considers issues of patient goals, uncertainty, judgement, choice, development of new information, and family and social concerns in healthcare. It helps to demystify decision theory by emphasizing concepts and clinical cases over mathematics and computation. (shrink)
Rules are a central component of such diverse enterprises as law, morality, language, games, religion, etiquette, and family governance, but there is often confusion about what a rule is, and what rules do. Offering a comprehensive philosophical analysis of these questions, this book challenges much of the existing legal, jurisprudential, and philosophical literature, by seeing a significant role for rules, an equally significant role for their stricter operation, and making the case for rules as devices for the allocation of power (...) among decision-makers. (shrink)
Reinforcement learning (RL) models of decision-making cannot account for human decisions in the absence of prior reward or punishment. We propose a mechanism for choosing among available options based on goal-option association strengths, where association strengths between objects represent previously experienced object proximity. The proposed mechanism, Goal-Proximity Decision-making (GPD), is implemented within the ACT-R cognitive framework. GPD is found to be more efficient than RL in three maze-navigation simulations. GPD advantages over RL seem to grow as task difficulty (...) is increased. An experiment is presented where participants are asked to make choices in the absence of prior reward. GPD captures human performance in this experiment better than RL. (shrink)
Current environmental problems and technological risks are a challenge for a new institutional arrangement of the value spheres of Science, Politics and Morality. Distinguished authors from different European countries and America provide a cross-disciplinary perspective on the problems of political decision making under the conditions of scientific uncertainty. cases from biotechnology and the environmental sciences are discussed. The papers collected for this volume address the following themes: (i) controversies about risks and political decision making; (ii) concepts of science (...) for policy; (iii) the use of social science in the policy making process; (iv) ethical problems with developments in science and technology; (v) public and state interests in the development and control of technology. (shrink)
The traditional form of the backward induction argument, which concludes that two initially rational agents would always defect, relies on the assumption that they believe they will be rational in later rounds. Philip Pettit and Robert Sugden have argued, however, that this assumption is unjustified. The purpose of this paper is to reconstruct the argument without using this assumption. The formulation offered concludes that two initially rational agents would decide to always defect, and relies only on the weaker assumption that (...) they do not believe they will not be rational in later rounds. The argument employs the idea that decisions justify revocable presumptions about behaviour. (shrink)
Origin of seekers: from caveman to cage fighters -- Impulsivity's hidden side: the secret of being directionally correct -- Eat or be eaten: what politicians have learned from primates -- Bubblology: the plague of the $76,000 flower -- Common sense of ownership -- Factoring you into your decisions -- Potential seekers: directing your innovative impulses -- Risk managers: conquering the fear of big cats -- Striking a balance.
This is a 'state of the art' collection of essays on the relation between probabilities, especially conditional probabilities, and conditionals. It provides new negative results which sharply limit the ways conditionals can be related to conditional probabilities. There are also positive ideas and results which will open up new areas of research. The collection is intended to honour Ernest W. Adams, whose seminal work is largely responsible for creating this area of inquiry. As well as describing, evaluating, and applying Adams' (...) work the contributions extend his ideas in directions he may or may not have anticipated, but that he certainly inspired. In addition to a wide range of philosophers of science, the volume should interest computer scientists and linguists. (shrink)
The authors developed this textbook in response to an increasing interest in ethics, and a growing number of courses on this topic that are now being offered in educational leadership programs. It is designed to fill a gap in instructional materials for teaching the ethics component of the knowledge base that has been established for the profession. The text has several purposes: First, it demonstrates the application of different ethical paradigms (the ethics of justice, care, critique, and the profession) through (...) discussion and analysis of real-life moral dilemmas that educational leaders face in their schools and communities. Second, it addresses some of the practical, pedagogical, and curricular issues related to the teaching of ethics for educational leaders. Third, it emphasizes the importance of ethics instruction from a variety of theoretical approaches. Finally, it provides a process that instructors might follow to develop their own ethics unit or course. * Part I provides an overview of why ethics is so important, especially for today's educational leaders, and describes a multiparadigm approach essential to practitioners as they grapple with ethical dilemmas. * Part II deals with the dilemmas themselves. Ethical dilemmas written by the authors' graduate students bring readers face-to-face with the kinds of dilemmas faced by practicing administrators in urban, suburban, and rural settings in an era full of complexities and contradictions. * Part III focuses on pedagogy and provides teaching notes for the instructor. The authors discuss the importance of self-reflection on the part of both instructors and students, and model how they thought through their own personal and professional ethical codes as well as reflected upon the critical incidents in their lives that shaped their teaching and frequently determined what they privileged in class. (shrink)
This paper provides new foundations for Bayesian Decision Theory based on a representation theorem for preferences defined on a set of prospects containing both factual and conditional possibilities. This use of a rich set of prospects not only provides a framework within which the main theoretical claims of Savage, Ramsey, Jeffrey and others can be stated and compared, but also allows for the postulation of an extended Bayesian model of rational belief and desire from which they can be derived (...) as special cases. The main theorem of the paper establishes the existence of a such a Bayesian representation of preferences over conditional prospects, i.e. the existence of a pair of real-valued functions respectively measuring the agent’s degrees of belief and desire and which satisfy the postulated rationality conditions on partial belief and desire. The representation of partial belief is shown to be unique and that of partial desire, unique up to a linear transformation. (shrink)
Pulier (2000, Theory and Decision 49: 291) and Machina (2000, Theory and Decision 49: 293) seek to dissolve the BarrettâArntzenius 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.
Game trees (or extensive-form games) were first defined by von Neumann and Morgenstern in 1944. In this paper we examine the use of game trees for representing Bayesian decision problems. We propose a method for solving game trees using local computation. This method is a special case of a method due to Wilson for computing equilibria in 2-person games. Game trees differ from decision trees in the representations of information constraints and uncertainty. We compare the game tree representation (...) and solution technique with other techniques for decision analysis such as decision trees, influence diagrams, and valuation networks. (shrink)
In economically meaningful interactions negotiations are particularly important because they allow agents to improve their information about the environment and even to change accordingly their own characteristics. In each step of a negotiation an agent has to emit a message. This message conveys information about her preferences and endowments. Given that the information she uses to decide which message to emit comes from beliefs generated in previous stages of the negotiation, she has to cope with the uncertainty associated with them. (...) The assessment of the states of the world also evolves during the negotiation. In this paper we analyze the intertwined dynamics of beliefs and decision, in order to determine conditions on the agents that allow them to reach agreements. The framework for decision making we consider here is based on defeasible evaluation of possibilities: an argument for a choice defeats another one if it is based on a computation that better uses all the available information. (shrink)
Since the middle of this century, the dominant prescriptive approach to decision theory has been a deductive viewpoint which is concerned with axioms of rational preference and their consequences. After summarizing important problems with the preference primitive, this paper argues for a constructive approach in which information is the foundation for decision-making. This approach poses comparability of uncertain acts as a question rather than an assumption. It is argued that, in general, neither preference nor subjective probability can be (...) assumed given, and that these need to be generated by using the relevant information available to the decision-agent in a given situation. A specific constructive model is discussed and illustrated with a real example from this viewpoint. (shrink)
The theory of Markov decision processes (MDP) can be used to analyze a wide variety of stopping time problems in economics. In this paper, the nature of such problems is discussed and then the underlying theory is applied to the question of arranged marriages. We construct a stylized model of arranged marriages and, inter alia, it is shown that a decision maker's optimal policy depends only on the nature of the current marriage proposal, independent of whether there is (...) recall (storage) of previous marriage proposals. (shrink)
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 BarrettâArntzenius and these other examples is the indeterminacy of their infinite-period split-minute setting.
The paper describes a methodology to be used for analysis and design of human activity systems. The methodology is based on an analysis of the decision settings whereas most other decision analysis methodologies are analysing the process. The decision concept is analysed and discussed. A distinction between programmed and programmable as well as non-programmed and non-programmable decisions is proposed. A classification of different information types for decision making is presented. A methodology based on a systemic and (...) systematic analysis of the information requirements of an organization is proposed. This methodology also indicates organizational discrepancies and information imbalances. The methodology focuses the settings of the decisions on all levels of organizations. The methodology can be regarded as a dynamic, learning system. The author proposes further research on the individuals decision making abilities. (shrink)
In many real-world gambles, a non-trivial amount of time passes before the uncertainty is resolved but after a choice is made. An individual may have a preference between gambles with identical probability distributions over final outcomes if they differ in the timing of resolution of uncertainty. In this domain, utility consists not only of the consumption of outcomes, but also the psychological utility induced by an unresolved gamble. We term this utility anxiety. Since a reflective decision maker may want (...) to include anxiety explicitly in analysis of unresolved lotteries, a multiple-outcome model for evaluating lotteries with delayed resolution of uncertainty is developed. The result is a rank-dependent utility representation (e.g., Quiggin, 1982), in which period weighting functions are related iteratively. Substitution rules are proposed for evaluating compound temporal lotteries. The representation is appealing for a number of reasons. First, probability weights can be interpreted as the cognitive attention allocated to certain outcomes. Second, the model disaggregates strength of preference from temporal risk aversion and thus provides some insight into the old debate about the relationship between von NeumannâMorgenstern utility functions and strength of preference value functions. (shrink)
The New Economic Windows Series, derived from Massimo Salzano's ideas and work, incorporates material from textbooks, monographs and conference proceedings that deals with both the theoretical and applied aspects of various sub-disciplines ...
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 reward. The current research extends these findings under new conditions; specifically, it explores the extent to which these principles are violated as a function of the planning horizon length of the decision tree. Results from two experiments suggest that dynamic inconsistency increases as tree length increases; these results are explained within a dynamic approachâavoidance framework. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to study the monotonicity properties with respect to the probability distribution of the state processes, of optimal decisions in bandit decision problems. Orderings of dynamic discrete projects are provided by extending the notion of stochastic dominance to stochastic processes.
The paper introduces the concept of polar decision rules and establishes that majority rules are polar rules. We identify second best rules and penultimate rules in cases that majority rules are optimal or the most inferior, respectively. We especially specify the almost expert rule and the almost majority rule as the secondary rules of the expert and majority rules, respectively.
This paper proposes several concepts of efficient solutions for multicriteria decision problems under uncertainty. We show how alternative notions of efficiency may be grounded on different decision âcontextsâ, depending on what is known about the Decision Maker's (DM) preference structure and probabilistic anticipations. We define efficient sets arising naturally from polar decision contexts. We investigate these sets from the points of view of their relative inclusions and point out some particular subsets which may be especially relevant (...) to some decision situations. (shrink)
A new axiomatic basis for the foundations of decision theory is introduced and its mathematical development outlined. The system combines direct intuitive operational appeal with considerable structural flexibility in the resulting mathematical framework.
In a dynamic (sequential) framework, departures from the independence axiom (IND) are reputed to induce violations of dynamic consistency (DC), which may in turn have undesirable normative consequences. This result thus questions the normative acceptability of non expected-utility (non-EU) models, which precisely relax IND. This paper pursues a twofold objective. The main one is to discuss the normative conclusion: usual arguments linking violations of DC to departures from IND are shown to be actually based on specific (but usually remaining implicit) (...) assumptions which may rightfully be released, so that it is actually possible for a non-EU maximizer to be dynamically consistent and thus avoid normative difficulties. The second objective is to introduce a kind of `reality principle' (through two other evaluation criteria) in order to mitigate the normative requirement when examining adequate moods for non-EU decision making. (shrink)
Crito revisited -- Blindness, narrative, and meaning : moral living -- Radical experience and tragic duty : moral dying -- Needing assistance to die well : PAS and beyond -- Experiencing lost voices : dying without capacity -- Dying young : what interests do children have? -- Caring for patients : cure, palliation, comfort, and aid in the process of dying.
It is shown that the uncertainty connected with a `random in a broad sense' (not necessarily stochastic) event always has some `statistical regularity' (SR) in the form of a family of finite-additive probability distributions. The specific principle of guaranteed result in decision making is introduced. It is shown that observing this principle of guaranteed result leads to determine the one optimality criterion corresponding to a decision system with a given `statistical regularity'.
The purpose of this paper is to examine the structure of individual decisions under uncertainty in extensive (i.e., decision-tree) form at a sufficient level of generality to encompass many traditional as well as novel criteria of general choice under uncertainty. Considerations both of structure and of strategic effect arise. In § 2 we define weak and strong forms of strategic equivalence of decision trees and describe partial-normalization procedures by which all economically defined complete pure strategies may be identified (...) for the decider and for “chance”. In § 3 we examine characteristics of locally randomized, “behavior” strategies for the decider as the degree of normalization is varied, and we deduce useful properties of the function which specifies an outcome lottery for each behavior strategy of the decider in conjuction with a deterministic or stochastic selection by Chance. In § 4 we list a wide variety of choice criteria which may be invoked within the framework developed here. (shrink)
The focus here is on analytical and instrumental requirements for those collective decision exercises that lend themselves to a judgment-driven resolution. These have not as yet received much concerted technical attention from either of the two main movements in the field. They remain somewhere beyond the purview of the objectively-predicated instruments that mainstream GDSS (Group Decision Support System) designs tend to favour. Yet neither are they so inherently ill-structured as the situations with which the GDNSS (Group Decision (...) and Negotiation Support System) community is concerned, these usually allowing only a subjectively-predicated, compromisive or consensus-based conclusion. If the technical requirements peculiar to judgment-driven decision exercises are to be well met, it will be through the offices of analytical instruments that can help assure the rationality of the resolutions at which they arrive. The primary purpose of these pages is to offer some suggestions about the types of analytical instruments that might serve this end. (shrink)
A model for ethical problem solving -- Values in health and illness -- What is the source of moral judgments? -- Benefiting the patient and others : duty to do good and avoid harm -- Justice : allocation of health resources -- Autonomy -- Veracity : honesty with patients -- Fidelity : promise-keeping, loyalty to patients, and impaired professionals -- Avoidance of killing -- Abortion, sterilization, and contraception -- Genetics, birth, and the biological revolution -- Mental health and behavior control (...) -- Confidentiality : ethical disclosure of medical information -- Organ transplants -- Health insurance, health system planning, and rationing -- Experimentation on human subjects -- Consent and the right to refuse treatment -- Death and dying. (shrink)
Newcomb's problem and similar cases show the need to incorporate causal distinctions into the theory of rational decision; the usual noncausal decision theory, though simpler, does not always give the right answers. I give my own version of causal decision theory, compare it with versions offered by several other authors, and suggest that the versions have more in common than meets the eye.
Kidder's checklistfor ethical decrsion making is recommended as an addition to the existing canon of modelsfor mass media ethics. Contributions in Kidder's approach include his dichotomy between ethical dilemmas m d moral temptations, his tests for right-versus-wrong and right-versus-right issues, his framework by which to clarify values in ethical dilemmas, nnd his sequencing of the decision-making process. Kidder's model is surnmnrized nnd discussed, revisions are suggested for classroom use in medin ethics courses, nnd tke revised model is applied to (...) media ethics cases. (shrink)
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 should reject these claims, and lay the foundations of decision theory on firmer ground. (shrink)
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 in ideal-utilitarian terms, but rather in terms of individual preferences, in accordance with the author's equiprobability model of moral value judgments. (shrink)
I argue that standard decision theories, namely causal decision theory and evidential decision theory, both are unsatisfactory. I devise a new decision theory, from which, under certain conditions, standard game theory can be derived.
Many philosophers (myself included) have been converted to causal decision theory by something like the following line of argument: Evidential decision theory endorses irrational courses of action in a range of examples, and endorses “an irrational policy of managing the news”. These are fatal problems for evidential decision theory. Causal decision theory delivers the right results in the troublesome examples, and does not endorse this kind of irrational news-managing. So we should give up evidential decision (...) theory, and be causal decision theorists instead. Unfortunately, causal decision theory has its own family of problematic examples for which it endorses irrational courses of action, and its own irrational policy that it is committed to endorsing. These are, I think, fatal problems for causal decision theory. I wish that I had another theory to offer in its place. (shrink)
In this paper, we consider three arguments for the irrelevance of the doctrine of double effect in end-of-life decision making. The third argument is our own and, to that extent, we seek to defend it. The first argument is that end-of-life decisions do not in fact shorten lives and that therefore there is no need for the doctrine in justification of these decisions. We reject this argument; some end-of-life decisions clearly shorten lives. The second is that the doctrine of (...) double effect is not recognized in UK law (and similar jurisdictions); therefore, clinicians cannot use it as the basis for justification of their decisions. Against this we suggest that while the doctrine might have dubious legal grounds, it could be of relevance in some ways, e.g. in marking the boundary between acceptable and unacceptable practice in relation to the clinician's duty to relieve pain and suffering. The third is that the doctrine is irrelevant because it requires there to be a bad effect that needs justification. This is not the case in end-of-life care for patients diagnosed as dying. Here, bringing about a satisfactory dying process for a patient is a good effect, not a bad one. What matters is that patients die without pain and suffering. This marks a crucial departure from the double-effect doctrine; if the patient's death is not a bad effect then the doctrine is clearly irrelevant. A diagnosis of dying allows clinicians to focus on good dying and not to worry about whether their intervention affects the time of death. For a patient diagnosed as dying, time of death is rarely important. In our conclusion we suggest that acceptance of our argument might be problematic for opponents of physician-assisted death. We suggest one way in which these opponents might argue for a distinction between such practice and palliative care; this relies on the double-effect doctrine's distinction between foresight and intention. (shrink)
has offered evidential decision theorists a defence against the charge that they make unintuitive recommendations for cases like Newcomb's Problem. He says that when conditional probabilities are assessed from the agent's point of view, evidential decision theory makes the same recommendation as intuition. I argue that calculating the probabilities in Price's way leads to no recommendation. It condemns the agent to perpetual oscillation between different options. Price's Argument Instability Objections Conclusion.
Personal values have long been associated with individual decision behavior. The role played by personal values in decision making within an organization is less clear. Past research has found that managers tend to respond to ethical dilemmas situationally. This study examines the relationship between personal values and the ethical dimension of decision making using Partial Least Squares (PLS) analysis. The study examines personal values as they relate to five types of ethical dilemmas. We found a significant positive (...) contribution of altruistic values to ethical decision making and a significant negative contribution of self-enhancement values to ethical decision making. (shrink)
Personal values have long been associated with individual decision behavior. The role played by personal values in decision making within an organization is less clear. This study examines the relationship between personal values and the ethical dimension of indicated decisions utilizing discriminant analysis. Past research has found that managers tend to respond to ethical dilemmas situationally. The study examines personal values as they relate to four types of ethical dilemmas.
We critically review themushrooming literature addressing the neuralmechanisms of moral cognition (NMMC), reachingthe following broad conclusions: (1) researchmainly focuses on three inter-relatedcategories: the moral emotions, moral socialcognition, and abstract moral reasoning. (2)Research varies in terms of whether it deploysecologically valid or experimentallysimplified conceptions of moral cognition. Themore ecologically valid the experimentalregime, the broader the brain areas involved.(3) Much of the research depends on simplifyingassumptions about the domain of moral reasoningthat are motivated by the need to makeexperimental progress. This is a (...) valuablebeginning, but as more is understood about theneural mechanisms of decision-making, morerealistic conceptions will need to replace thesimplified conceptions. (4) The neuralcorrelates of real-life moral cognition areunlikely to consist in anything remotely like a``moral module'' or a ``morality center.'' Moralrepresentations, deliberations and decisionsare probably highly distributed and notconfined to any particular brainsub-system. Discovering the basic neuralprinciples governing planning, judgment anddecision-making will require vastly more basicresearch in neuroscience, but correlatingactivity in certain brain regions withwell-defined psychological conditions helpsguide neural level research. Progress on socialphenomena will also require theoreticalinnovation in understanding the brain'sdistinctly biological form of computationthat is anchored by emotions, needs, drives,and the instinct for survival. (shrink)
Classroom cases and decision making models used in the teaching of business ethics may be inconsistent with the actual needs of practicing manager students. Three summary cases written by practicing manager students are included in this paper as well as evidence that concerns a focus more on interpersonal dilemmas rather than top management decisions. As well, the relevancy of philosophical perspectives of ethical decision models is questioned. More practical, hands-on models for ethical decisions are provided. Finally, conclusions of (...) relevancy for the field are drawn. (shrink)