According to Savage “a state of the world is a description of the world, leaving no relevant aspect undescribed”. This paper presents an analysis of decision situations in which the decision maker feels he may be unaware of some aspects which are relevant for the determination of the consequences of his actions, and therefore does not think that the model on which his decision is based is a faithful representation of reality. In the present interpretation, in such (...) situations the decision maker need not believe that all actions which are perceived as resulting with certainty in one consequence will necessarily do so. Hence the decision maker contemplating such an action — represented in the model by a constant map from the state space into the consequence space — will not necessarily rank it as indifferent to the corresponding consequence itself. A representation result is presented in which the decision maker evaluates actions not directly through the maps which represent them but through maps corrected by bringing extreme consequences closer to a central one. The latter reflects a first-approximation evaluation of the set of competing alternatives available in the given decision situation. (shrink)
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)
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)
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 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.
A comprehensive decision support system called GMCA (Graph Model for Conflict Analysis) implementing the multi-player graph model for analyzing conflicts is developed. GMCA contains algorithms for the rapid computation of a wide range of solution concepts, thereby enabling decision makers to take account of the diversity of human behavior. Using an engineering case study, the key features of GMCA are illustrated.
In quantum domains, the measurement (or observation) of one of a pair of complementary variables introduces an unavoidable uncertainty in the value of that variable's complement. Such uncertainties are negligible in Newtonian worlds, where observations can be made without appreciably disturbing the observed system. Hence, one would not expect that an observation of a non-quantum probabilistic outcome could affect a probability distribution over subsequently possible states, in a way that would conflict with classical probability calculations. This paper examines three problems (...) in which observations appear to affect the probabilities and expected utilities of subsequent outcomes, in ways which may appear paradoxical. Deeper analysis of these problems reveals that the anomalies arise, not from paradox, but rather from faulty inferences drawn from the observations themselves. Thus the notion of ‘quantum’ decision theory is disparaged. (shrink)
There are at least two plausible generalisations of subjective expected utility (SEU) theory: cumulative prospect theory (which relaxes the independence axiom) and Levi’s decision theory (which relaxes at least ordering). These theories call for a re-assessment of the minimal requirements of rational choice. Here, I consider how an analysis of sequential decision making contributes to this assessment. I criticise Hammond’s (Economica 44(176):337–350, 1977; Econ Philos 4:292–297, 1988a; Risk, decision and rationality, 1988b; Theory Decis 25:25–78, 1988c) ‘consequentialist’ argument (...) for the SEU preference axioms, but go on to formulate a related diachronic-Dutch-book-style’ argument that better achieves Hammond’s aims. Some deny the importance of Dutch-book sure losses, however, in which case, Seidenfeld’s (Econ Philos 4:267–290, 1988a) argument that distinguishes between theories that relax independence and those that relax ordering is relevant. I unravel Seidenfeld’s argument in light of the various criticisms of it and show that the crux of the argument is somewhat different and much more persuasive than what others have taken it to be; the critical issue is the modelling of future choices between ‘indifferent’ decision-tree branches in the sequential setting. Finally, I consider how Seidenfeld’s conclusions might nonetheless be resisted. (shrink)
Modeling risk in a prescriptively plausible way represents a major issue in decision theory. The benchmarking procedure, being based on the satisficing principle and providing a probabilistic interpretation of expected utility (EU) theory, is prescriptive. Because it is a target-based language, the benchmarking procedure can be applied naturally to finance. In finance, the centrality of risk is widely recognized, but the risk measures that are commonly used to assess risk are too poor as a decision making tool. In (...) this paper we propose a two-stage decision criterion of choice under risk that provides an application of benchmarking to finance through a risk measure. We will analyze some nonexpected utility theories, in particular lottery dependent utility, as potential frameworks for our criterion. (shrink)
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)
Committee decision making is examined in this study focusing on the role assigned to the committee members. In particular, we are concerned about the comparison between committee performance under specialization and non-specialization of the decision makers. Specialization (in the context of project or public policy selection) means that the decision of each committee member is based on a narrow area, which typically results in the acquirement and use of relatively high expertise in that area. When the committee (...) members’ expertise is already determined, specialization only means that the decision of each committee member is based solely on his/her relatively high expertise area. This form of specialization is potentially inferior relative to non-specialization under which the decision of each committee member is based on different areas, not just his/her relatively high expertise area. Given that the expertise of the committee members is already determined but unknown, our analysis focuses on non-specializing individuals whose decision is based on a decision rule that does not require information on the decision-making skills. Under these realistic assumptions, non-specialization is shown to be preferable over specialization, depending on the aggregation rule applied by the committee. The significance of our approach is not limited to the specific results that we obtain. Rather, it should be viewed as a first step toward a deeper examination of the role of individual decision makers in enhancing the performance of collective decision making. (shrink)
The current note clarifies why, in committees, the prior probability of a correct collective choice might be of particular significance and possibly should sometimes even be the sole appropriate basis for making the collective decision. In particular, we present sufficient conditions for the superiority of a rule based solely on the prior relative to the simple majority rule, even when the decisional skills of the committee members are assumed to be homogeneous.
This article reports results of an experiment designed to analyze the link between risky decisions made by couples and risky decisions made separately by each spouse. We estimate both the spouses and the couples’ degrees of risk aversion, we assess how the risk preferences of the two spouses aggregate when they make risky decisions, and we shed light on the dynamics of the decision process that takes place when couples make risky decisions. We find that, far from being fixed, (...) the balance of power within the household is malleable. In most couples, men have, initially, more decision-making power than women but women who ultimately implement the joint decisions gain more and more power over the course of decision making. (shrink)
In a stimulating paper, Piccione and Rubinstein (1997) argued how a decision maker could undertake dynamically inconsistent choices when, in an extensive form decision problem, she has a particular type of imperfect recall named absentmindedness. Such memory limitation obtains whenever information sets include decision histories along the same decision path. Starting from work focusing on the absentminded driver example, and independently developed by Segal (2000) and Dimitri (1999), the main theorem of this article provides a general (...) result of dynamically consistent choices, valid for a large class of finite extensive form decision problems without nature. (shrink)
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)
This essay intends to define the role of entropy, in particular, the role of the maximum entropy criterion with respect to decision analysis and information economics. By considering the average opportunity loss interpretation, the basic hypothesis for Shannon's derivation can be derived from properties of decision problems. Using the representation Bayes Boundary it is possible to show that selecting a single probability from a set by the Maximum Entropy Criterion corresponds to a minimax criterion for decision-making. Since (...) problems of randomly accessing and storing information as well as communicating information can often be stated in terms of coding problems, this result might be used to develop strategies for minimizing retrieval time or communication costs. (shrink)
Pooling of different resources is typical among the member countries of the Council of Mutual Economic Assistance participating in joint large-scale construction projects. The problem faced by the members of the Council is to decide, how much of various resources each country should contribute to a construction project. In this paper we present a general approach to supporting individuals involved in such negotiations. We formulate the problem as a multiple criteria/multiple decision-maker model and use our approach to finding a (...) compromise solution for the resource pooling problem within the Council of Mutual Economic Assistance. The approach is implemented on a computer, tested and illustrated using a prototypical example. (shrink)
While the traditional economic wisdom believes that an individual will become better off by being given a larger opportunity set to choose from, in this paper we question this belief and build a formal theoretical model that introduces decision costs into the rational decision process. We show, under some reasonable conditions, that a larger feasible set may actually lower an individual’s level of satisfaction. This provides a solid economic underpinning for the Simon prediction.
This paper presents a critical reflection on dynamic consistency as commonly used in economics and decision theory, and on the difficulty to test it experimentally. It distinguishes between the uses of the term dynamic consistency in order to characterize two different properties: the first accounts for the neutrality of individual preferences towards the timing of resolution of uncertainty whereas the second guarantees that a strategy chosen at the beginning of a sequential decision problem is immune to any reevaluation (...) and will effectively be implemented from then on in the decision problem. Although these two properties are equivalent under expected utility (EU), this is not the case under non-EU. Building on the possible characteristics of individual dynamic preferences under risk, this paper proposes a conceptual categorization, that is experimentally testable, of possible sequential decision making behaviors of non-EU maximizers. (shrink)
A decision maker using the Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) could be consistent, and still provide no information in the resulting vector of priorities. An extreme example would be a pairwise comparison judgment matrix filled with 1s which is totally consistent under the various definitions of consistency, but has provided no information about the prioritization of alternatives resulting from the decision maker's judgments. In this paper, the quality of a consistent decision maker's judgments using the Analytic Hierarchy Process (...) is placed in the context of the entropy of the resulting vector of priorities. Indeed, it is the purpose of this paper to provide a formal definition of this notion ofentropy of a priority vector, and to provide a framework for a quantitative measurement of the information content of consistent pairwise comparison judgment matrices of a decision maker who is using the Analytic Hierarchy Process. We will prove that the entropy of the vector of priorities for consistent matrices follows a normal distribution and discuss some general considerations of this result. (shrink)
This paper starts out from the proposition that case-based decision theory (CBDT) is an appropriate tool to explain human decision behavior in situations of structural ignorance. Although the developers of CBDT suggest its reality adequacy, CBDT has not yet been tested empirically very often, especially not in repetitive decision situations. Therefore, our main objective is to analyse the decision behavior of subjects in a repeated-choice experiment by comparing the explanation power of CBDT to reinforcement learning and (...) to classical decision criteria under uncertainty namely maximin, maximax, and pessimism-optimism. Our findings substantiate a predominant significantly higher validity of CBDT compared to the classical criteria and to reinforcement learning. For this reason, the experimental results confirm the suggested reality adequacy of CBDT in repetitive decision situations of structural ignorance. (shrink)
The notion of ecological rationality implies that the accuracy of a decision strategy depends on features of the information environment in which it is tested. We demonstrate that the performance of a group may be strongly affected by the decision strategies used by its individual members and specify how this effect is moderated by environmental features. Specifically, in a set of simulation studies, we systematically compared four decision strategies used by the individual group members: two linear, compensatory (...)decision strategies and two simple, noncompensatory heuristics. Individual decisions were aggregated by using a majority rule. To assess the ecological rationality of the strategies, we varied (a) the distribution of cue validities, (b) the quantity, and (c) the quality of shared information. Group performance strongly depended on the distribution of cue validities. When validities were linearly distributed, groups using a compensatory strategy achieved the highest accuracy. Conversely, when cue validities followed a J-shaped distribution, groups using a simple lexicographic heuristic performed best. While these effects were robust across different quantities of shared information, the quality of shared information exerted stronger effects on group performance. Consequences for prescriptive theories on group decision making are discussed. (shrink)
Research in psychology suggests that some individuals are more sensitive to positive than to negative information while others are more sensitive to negative rather than positive information. I take these cognitive positive–negative asymmetries in information processing to a Bayesian decision-theory model and explore its consequences in terms of decisions and payoffs. I show that in monotone decision problems economic agents with more positive-responsive information structures are always better off, ex ante, when they face problems where payoffs are relatively (...) more sensitive to the action chosen when the state of nature is favorable. (shrink)
Based on evolutionary systems design (ESD), group decision and negotiation support in evolving, nonshared information contexts is discussed. A non-shared information context — one without full information sharing — is associated with what has been loosely called a ‘noncooperative’ context in the group decision and negotiation support systems (GDNSS) literature. Without full information sharing, we have a game with incomplete information that, in general, is evolving. The paper discusses how the GDNSS, MEDIATOR, supports evolution of the group problem (...) representation — a process of consensus seeking (through information sharing, here partial) subject to problem adaptation and restructuring within which compromise is possible. (shrink)
The family of decision analysis techniques can be applied effectively to support practical negotiators in international settings. These techniques are most appropriate in support of the prenegotiation phase, when parties are diagnosing the situation, assessing their own plans and strategies, and evaluating likely reactions and outcomes. The paper identifies how these approaches have and can be used to assist negotiation practitioners, offers a rationale for the application of decision analytic approaches in terms of the particular analytical requirements of (...) the prenegotiation period, suggests how these process-oriented tools can be integrated with substantive tools, and discusses ways in which these tools can be presented and delivered to practitioners in a practical and confidence-building manner. (shrink)
Decision making theory in general, and mental models in particular, associate judgment and choice. Decision choice follows probability estimates and errors in choice derive mainly from errors in judgment. In the studies reported here we use the Monty Hall dilemma to illustrate that judgment and choice do not always go together, and that such a dissociation can lead to better decision-making. Specifically, we demonstrate that in certain decision problems, exceeding working memory limitations can actually improve (...) class='Hi'>decision choice. We show across four experiments that increasing the number of choice alternatives forces people to collapse choices together, resulting in better decision-making. While choice performance improves, probability judgments do not change, thus demonstrating an important dissociation between choice and probability judgments. We propose the Collapsing Choice Theory (CCT) which explains how working memory capacity, probability estimation, choice alternatives, judgment, and regret all interact and effect decision quality. (shrink)
This paper defines and defends certain procedural and instrumental initiatives taken to constitute a transempirical protocol. This protocol is intended to provide one avenue for extending the bounds of rationality to decision exercises where there are only limited opportunities for effecting objective or empirical discipline. That is, the practical purpose of the protocol's facilities is to help prevent decision exercises that must be conducted in the face of a signal sparsity of objective/empirical predicates from degenerating into an uncontrolled (...) retreat from reason.The paper is divided into two essentially self-contained parts. Part I will try to establish the rationale for the transempirical protocol in light of the reach and limits of other decision-theoretic platforms, and briefly introduce the set of provisions it entails. Part II will then go through a technical elaboration of these provisions, suggesting how they might be brought towards operational significance. (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 hybrid preference framework is proposed for strategic conflict analysis to integrate preference strength and preference uncertainty into the paradigm of the graph model for conflict resolution (GMCR) under multiple decision makers. This structure offers decision makers a more flexible mechanism for preference expression, which can include strong or mild preference of one state or scenario over another, as well as equal preference. In addition, preference between two states can be uncertain. The result is a preference framework that (...) is more general than existing models which consider preference strength and preference uncertainty separately. Within the hybrid preference structure, four kinds of stability are defined as solution concepts and a post-stability analysis, called status quo analysis, which can be used to track the evolution of a given conflict. Algorithms are provided for implementing the key inputs of stability analysis and status quo analysis within the extended preference structure. The new stability concepts under the hybrid preference structure can be used to model complex strategic conflicts arising in practical applications, and can provide new insights for the conflicts. The method is illustrated using the conflict over proposed bulk water exports from Lake Gisborne in Newfoundland, Canada. (shrink)
Stability definitions for describing human behavior under conflict when coalitions may form are generalized within the Graph Model for Conflict Resolution and algebraic formulations of these definitions are provided to allow computer implementation. The more general definitions of coalitional stabilities relax the assumption of transitive graphs capturing movements under the control of decision makers, either independently or cooperatively, and allow the convenient expansion to the case of coalitions of the four basic individual stabilities consisting of Nash stability, general metarationality, (...) symmetric metarationality, and sequential stability. To permit the various coalitional stabilities to be efficiently calculated and conveniently encoded within a decision support system, algebraic expressions for the coalitional stabilities are provided in this research. Furthermore, a range of the theorems establish the mathematical credibility of employing the innovative algebraic approach to conflict resolution when coalitions are present. Finally, a conflict over the proposed exportation of bulk water from Lake Gisborne within the Canadian Province of Newfoundland and Labrador is modelled and analyzed to illustrate the practical application of the different coalitional stabilities and the strategic insights they provide. (shrink)
We present a novel variant of decision making based on the mathematical theory of separable Hilbert spaces. This mathematical structure captures the effect of superposition of composite prospects, including many incorporated intentions, which allows us to describe a variety of interesting fallacies and anomalies that have been reported to particularize the decision making of real human beings. The theory characterizes entangled decision making, non-commutativity of subsequent decisions, and intention interference. We demonstrate how the violation of the Savage’s (...) sure-thing principle, known as the disjunction effect, can be explained quantitatively as a result of the interference of intentions, when making decisions under uncertainty. The disjunction effects, observed in experiments, are accurately predicted using a theorem on interference alternation that we derive, which connects aversion-to-uncertainty to the appearance of negative interference terms suppressing the probability of actions. The conjunction fallacy is also explained by the presence of the interference terms. A series of experiments are analyzed and shown to be in excellent agreement with a priori evaluation of interference effects. The conjunction fallacy is also shown to be a sufficient condition for the disjunction effect, and novel experiments testing the combined interplay between the two effects are suggested. (shrink)
Incorporation of the behavioral issues of the decision maker (DM) is among the aspects that each Multicriteria Decision Making (MCDM) method implicitly or explicitly takes into account. As postulated by regret theory, the feelings of regret and rejoice are among the behavioral issues associated with the entire decision making process. Within the context of MCDM, the DM may feel regret, when the chosen alternative is compared with another one having at least one better criterion value. PROMETHEE II (...) is a widely known MCDM method that makes no explicit incorporation of regret attitude of the DM. In this paper, we elaborate on the applicability of regret theory to MCDM context. In particular, we investigate the findings of regret theory and explore the parallel between regret theory and PROMETHEE II method. Relying on the concepts of regret theory, we demonstrate how a decision that is made using a PROMETHEE II based outranking method conforms to the regret attitude of the DM. (shrink)
Yoo (Economic Letters 37:145–149, 1991) argues that the law of iterated expectations must be violated if the probability measure of a Choquet decision maker is non-additive. In this article, we prove the positive result that the law of iterated expectations is satisfied for Choquet decision makers whenever they update their non-additive beliefs in accordance with the Sarin and Wakker (Journal of Risk and Uncertainty 16:223–250, 1998) update rule. The formal key to this result is the act-dependence of the (...) Sarin–Wakker update rule, which does not hold for the update rules considered by Yoo (1991). (shrink)
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.
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.
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)
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)
Decision theory is concerned with how agents should act when the consequences of their actions are uncertain. The central principle of contemporary decision theory is that the rational choice is the choice that maximizes subjective expected utility. This entry explains what this means, and discusses the philosophical motivations and consequences of the theory. The entry will consider some of the main problems and paradoxes that decision theory faces, and some of responses that can be given. Finally the (...) entry will briefly consider how decision theory applies to choices involving more than one agent. (shrink)
In this paper, I address some of the shortcomings of established clinical ethics centring on personal autonomy and consent and what I label the Doctrine of Respecting Personal Autonomy in Healthcare. I discuss two implications of this doctrine: 1) the practice for treating patients who are considered to have borderline decision-making competence and 2) the practice of surrogate decision-making in general. I argue that none of these practices are currently aligned with respectful treatment of vulnerable individuals. Because of (...) 'structural arbitrariness' in the whole process of how we assess decision-making competence, this area is open to disrespectful treatment of people. The practice of surrogate decision- making on the basis of a single person's judgment is arguably not consistent with ethical and political requirements derived from the doctrine itself. In response to the inadequacies of the doctrine, I suggest a framework for reasonableness in surrogate decision-making which might allow practice to avoid the problems above. I conclude by suggesting an extended concept of Patient Autonomy which integrates both personal autonomy and the regulative idea of morality that is required by reasonableness in deciding for non-competent others. (shrink)
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. (shrink)
In patient-centred care, shared decision-making is advocated as the preferred form of medical decision-making. Shared decision-making is supported with reference to patient autonomy without abandoning the patient or giving up the possibility of influencing how the patient is benefited. It is, however, not transparent how shared decision-making is related to autonomy and, in effect, what support autonomy can give shared decision-making. In the article, different forms of shared decision-making are analysed in relation to five (...) different aspects of autonomy: (1) self-realisation; (2) preference satisfaction; (3) self-direction; (4) binary autonomy of the person; (5) gradual autonomy of the person. It is argued that both individually and jointly these aspects will support the models called shared rational deliberative patient choice and joint decision as the preferred versions from an autonomy perspective. Acknowledging that both of these models may fail, the professionally driven best interest compromise model is held out as a satisfactory second-best choice. (shrink)
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.
The paper will show how one may rationalize one-boxing in Newcomb's problem and drinking the toxin in the Toxin puzzle within the confines of causal decision theory by ascending to so-called reflexive decision models which reflect how actions are caused by decision situations (beliefs, desires, and intentions) represented by ordinary unreflexive decision models.
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)
Andy Egan has recently produced a set of alleged counterexamples to causal decision theory (CDT) in which agents are forced to decide among causally unratifiable options, thereby making choices they know they will regret. I show that, far from being counterexamples, CDT gets Egan's cases exactly right. Egan thinks otherwise because he has misapplied CDT by requiring agents to make binding choices before they have processed all available information about the causal consequences of their acts. I elucidate CDT in (...) a way that makes it clear where Egan goes wrong, and which explains why his examples pose no threat to the theory. My approach has similarities to a modification of CDT proposed by Frank Arntzenius, but it differs in the significance that it assigns to potential regrets. I maintain, contrary to Arntzenius, that an agent facing Egan's decisions can rationally choose actions that she knows she will later regret. All rationality demands of agents it that they maximize unconditional causal expected utility from an epistemic perspective that accurately reflects all the available evidence about what their acts are likely to cause. This yields correct answers even in outlandish cases in which one is sure to regret whatever one does. (shrink)
The study of decision making has multiple implications for business ethics. This paper outlines some commonly used frameworks for understanding choice in business. It characterises the dominant model for business decision making as rational choice theory (RCT) and contrasts this with a more recent, naturalistic theory of decision-making, image theory. The implications of using RCT and image theory to model decision making are discussed with reference to three ethical systems. RCT is shown to be consistent with (...) Utilitarian ethics, but not with Kantian or Virtue-based ethics. Image theory is shown to be consistent with each. The paper identifies a number of implications following from this analysis. (shrink)