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Profile: Paul Weirich (University of Missouri, Columbia)
  1.  13
    Paul Weirich (2004). Realistic Decision Theory: Rules for Nonideal Agents in Nonideal Circumstances. OUP Usa.
    Within traditional decision theory, common decision principles - e.g. the principle to maximize utility -- generally invoke idealization; they govern ideal agents in ideal circumstances. In Realistic Decision Theory, Paul Weirch adds practicality to decision theory by formulating principles applying to nonideal agents in nonideal circumstances, such as real people coping with complex decisions. Bridging the gap between normative demands and psychological resources, Realistic Decision Theory is essential reading for theorists seeking precise normative decision principles that acknowledge the limits and (...)
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  2.  29
    Nils‐Eric Sahlin & Paul Weirich (2014). Unsharp Sharpness. Theoria 80 (1):100-103.
    In a recent, thought-provoking paper Adam Elga argues against unsharp – e.g., indeterminate, fuzzy and unreliable – probabilities. Rationality demands sharpness, he contends, and this means that decision theories like Levi's, Gärdenfors and Sahlin's, and Kyburg's, though they employ different decision rules, face a common, and serious, problem. This article defends the rule to maximize minimum expected utility against Elga's objection.
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  3.  15
    Paul Weirich (2010). Collective Rationality: Equilibrium in Cooperative Games. Oxford University Press.
    This book argues that a group's act is evaluable for rationality if it is the products of acts its members fully control.
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  4. Paul Weirich (1983). Conditional Probabilities and Probabilities Given Knowledge of a Condition. Philosophy of Science 50 (1):82-95.
    The conditional probability of h given e is commonly claimed to be equal to the probability that h would have if e were learned. Here I contend that this general claim about conditional probabilities is false. I present a counter-example that involves probabilities of probabilities, a second that involves probabilities of possible future actions, and a third that involves probabilities of indicative conditionals. In addition, I briefly defend these counter-examples against charges that the probabilities they involve are illegitimate.
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  5. Paul Weirich (1988). Hierarchical Maximization of Two Kinds of Expected Utility. Philosophy of Science 55 (4):560-582.
    Causal decision theory produces decision instability in cases such as Death in Damascus where a decision itself provides evidence concerning the utility of options. Several authors have proposed ways of handling this instability. William Harper (1985 and 1986) advances one of the most elegant proposals. He recommends maximizing causal expected utility among the options that are causally ratifiable. Unfortunately, Harper's proposal imposes certain restrictions; for instance, the restriction that mixed strategies are freely available. To obtain a completely general method of (...)
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  6. Paul Weirich (1980). Conditional Utility and its Place in Decision Theory. Journal of Philosophy 77 (11):702-715.
    Causal decision theory attends to probabilities used to obtain an option's expected utility but for completeness should also attend to utilities of possible outcomes. A suitable formula for an option's expected utility uses a certain type of conditional utility.
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  7.  21
    Paul Weirich (1986). Expected Utility and Risk. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 37 (4):419-442.
    The rule to maximize expected utility is intended for decisions where options involve risk. In those decisions the decision maker's attitude toward risk is important, and the rule ought to take it into account. Allais's and Ellsberg's paradoxes, however, suggest that the rule ignores attitudes toward risk. This suggestion is supported by recent psychological studies of decisions. These studies present a great variety of cases where apparently rational people violate the rule because of aversion or attraction to risk. Here I (...)
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  8.  22
    Paul Weirich (1985). Decision Instability. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 63 (4):465 – 472.
    In some decision problems adoption of an option furnishes evidence about the option's consequences. Rational decisions take account of that evidence, although it makes an option's adoption changes the option's expected utility.
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  9.  38
    Paul Weirich, Causal Decision Theory. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  10.  24
    Paul Weirich (2001). Risk's Place in Decision Rules. Synthese 126 (3):427 - 441.
    To handle epistemic and pragmatic risks, Gärdenfors and Sahlin (1982, 1988) design a decision procedure for cases in which probabilities are indeterminate. Their procedure steps outside the traditional expected utility framework. Must it do this? Can the traditional framework handle risk? This paper argues that it can. The key is a comprehensive interpretation of an option's possible outcomes. Taking possible outcomes more broadly than Gärdenfors and Sahlin do, expected utility can give risk its due. In particular, Good's (1952) decision procedure (...)
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  11. Paul Weirich (2005). Decision Space: Multidimensional Utility Analysis. Cambridge University Press.
    In Decision Space: Multidimensional Utility Analysis, first published in 2001, Paul Weirich increases the power and versatility of utility analysis and in the process advances decision theory. Combining traditional and novel methods of option evaluation into one systematic method of analysis, multidimensional utility analysis is a valuable tool. It provides formulations of important decision principles, such as the principle to maximize expected utility; enriches decision theory in solving recalcitrant decision problems; and provides in particular for the cases in which an (...)
     
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  12.  38
    Paul Weirich (2007). Initiating Coordination. Philosophy of Science 74 (5):790-801.
    How do rational agents coordinate in a single-stage, noncooperative game? Common knowledge of the payoff matrix and of each player's utility maximization among his strategies does not suffice. This paper argues that utility maximization among intentions and then acts generates coordination yielding a payoff-dominant Nash equilibrium. ‡I thank the audience at my paper's presentation at the 2006 PSA meeting for many insightful points. †To contact the author, please write to: Philosophy Department, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211; e-mail: WeirichP@missouri.edu.
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  13.  81
    Paul Weirich (2005). Review: Mild Contraction: Evaluating Loss of Information Due to Loss of Belief. [REVIEW] Mind 114 (455):753-757.
    This book review describes and evaluates Issac Levi's views about belief revision.
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  14.  25
    Paul Weirich (2010). Optimization and Improvement. [REVIEW] Philosophical Studies 148 (3):467 - 475.
    Agents face serious obstacles to making optimal decisions. For instance, their cognitive limits stand in the way. John Pollock’s book, Thinking about Acting , suggests many ways of revising decision principles to accommodate human limits and to direct limited, artificial agents. The book’s main proposal is to replace optimization, or expected-utility maximization, with locally global planning. This essay describes optimization and locally global planning, and then argues that optimization among salient options has the virtues of locally global planning without certain (...)
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  15. Paul Weirich (2004). Belief and Acceptance. In Matti Sintonen, Ilkka Niiniluoto & Jan Wolenski (eds.), Handbook of Epistemology. Kluwer 499–520.
    The attitudes of belief and acceptance are similar but differ in important respects such as their relation to degree of belief.
     
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  16. Paul Weirich (1996). Mark Kaplan, Decision Theory as Philosophy. [REVIEW] Philosophy in Review 16 (3):179-180.
    Mark Kaplan proposes amending decision theory to accommodate better cases in which an agent's probability assignment is imprecise. The review describes and evaluates his proposals.
     
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  17. Paul Weirich (2010). Probabilities in Decision Rules. In Ellery Eells & James H. Fetzer (eds.), The Place of Probability in Science. Springer 289--319.
    The theory of direct reference suggests revising probability theory so that a probability attaches to a proposition given a way of understanding the proposition. The revisions make probabilities relative but do not change their structure.
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  18.  9
    Paul Weirich (1994). A Study of Concepts. Review of Metaphysics 48 (1):159-160.
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  19.  19
    Paul Weirich (2004). Belief and Acceptance. In Ilkka Niiniluoto, Matti Sintonen & Jan Wolenski (eds.), Handbook of Epistemology. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Pub 499--520.
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  20.  6
    Paul Weirich (2015). Decisions Without Sharp Probabilities. Philosophia Scientiæ 19:213-225.
    Adam Elga [Elga 2010] argues that no principle of rationality leads from unsharp probabilities to decisions. He concludes that a perfectly rational agent does not have unsharp probabilities. This paper defends unsharp probabilities. It shows how unsharp probabilities may ground rational decisions.
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  21.  17
    Paul Weirich (1983). A Decision Maker's Options. Philosophical Studies 44 (2):175 - 186.
    An agent's options in a decision problem are best understood as the decisions that the agent might make. Taking options this way eliminates the gap between an option's adoption and its execution.
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  22.  2
    Paul Weirich (2015). Decisions Without Sharp Probabilities. Philosophia Scientae 19:213-225.
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  23.  7
    Paul Weirich (1979). Conditionalization and Evidence. Journal of Critical Analysis 8 (1):15-18.
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  24.  10
    Paul Weirich (1984). The St. Petersburg Gamble and Risk. Theory and Decision 17 (2):193-202.
    One resolution of the St. Petersburg paradox recognizes that a gamble carries a risk sensitive to the gamble's stakes. If aversion to risk increases sufficiently fast as stakes go up, the St. Petersburg gamble has a finite utility.
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  25.  12
    Paul Weirich (1983). Utility Tempered with Equality. Noûs 17 (3):423-439.
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  26.  6
    Paul Weirich (1981). A Bias of Rationality. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 59 (1):31 – 37.
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  27.  8
    Paul Weirich (1986). Decisions in Dynamic Settings. PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1986:438 - 449.
    In a decision problem with a dynamic setting there is at least one option whose realization would change the expected utilities of options by changing the probability or utility function with respect to which the expected utilities of options are computed. A familiar example is Newcomb's problem. William Harper proposes a generalization of causal decision theory intended to cover all decision problems with dynamic settings, not just Newcomb's problem. His generalization uses Richard Jeffrey's ideas on ratifiability, and material from game (...)
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  28. Paul Weirich (2008). Using Food Labels to Regulate Risks. In Labeling Genetically Modified Food: The Philosophical and Legal Debate. OUP Usa
     
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  29.  32
    Paul Weirich (2001). Ken Binmore, Just Playing: Game Theory and the Social Contract:Just Playing: Game Theory and the Social Contract. Ethics 111 (4):794-797.
  30. Paul Weirich (2004). Economic Rationality. In Alfred R. Mele & Piers Rawling (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Rationality. OUP Usa
     
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  31.  23
    Paul Weirich (2011). Introduction: Interactive Epistemology. Episteme 8 (3):201-208.
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  32.  22
    Paul Weirich (1984). Interpersonal Utility in Principles of Social Choice. Erkenntnis 21 (3):295 - 317.
    This paper summarizes and rebuts the three standard objections made by social choice theorists against interpersonal utility. The first objection argues that interpersonal utility is measningless. I show that this objection either focuses on irrelevant kinds of meaning or else uses implausible criteria of meaningfulness. The second objection argues that interpersonal utility has no role to play in social choice theory. I show that on the contrary interpersonal utility is useful in formulating goals for social choice. The third objection argues (...)
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  33.  36
    Paul Weirich (2010). Utility and Framing. Synthese 176 (1):83 - 103.
    Standard principles of rational decision assume that an option's utility is both comprehensive and accessible. These features constrain interpretations of an option's utility. This essay presents a way of understanding utility and laws of utility. It explains the relation between an option's utility and its outcome's utility and argues that an option's utility is relative to a specification of the option. Utility's relativity explains how a decision problem's framing affects an option's utility and its rationality even for an agent who (...)
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  34.  22
    Paul Weirich (2012). Collective Acts. Synthese 187 (1):223-241.
    Groups of people perform acts. For example, a committee passes a resolution, a team wins a game, and an orchestra performs a symphony. These collective acts may be evaluated for rationality. Take a committee’s passing a resolution. This act may be evaluated not only for fairness but also for rationality. Did it take account of all available information? Is the resolution consistent with the committee’s past resolutions? Standards of collective rationality apply to collective acts, that is, acts that groups of (...)
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  35.  20
    Paul Weirich (1991). Contractiarianism and Bargaining Theory. Journal of Philosophical Research 16:369-385.
    Classical bargaining theory attempts to solve a bargaining problem using only the information about the problem contained in the representation of its possible outcomes in utility space. However, this information usually underdetermines the solution. I use additional information about interpersonal comparisons of utility and bargaining power. The solution is then the outcome that maximizes the sum of power-weighted utilities. I use these results to advance a contractarian argument for a utilitarian form of social cooperation. As the original position, I propose (...)
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  36.  31
    Paul Weirich (2012). Calibration. In Henk de Regt, Stephen Hartmann & Samir Okasha (eds.), EPSA Philosophy of Science: Amsterdam 2009. Springer 415–425.
    Abner Shimony (1988) argues that degrees of belief satisfy the axioms of probability because their epistemic goal is to match estimates of objective probabilities. Because the estimates obey the axioms of probability, degrees of belief must also obey them to reach their epistemic goal. This calibration argument meets some objections, but with a few revisions it can surmount those objections. It offers a good alternative to the Dutch book argument for compliance with the probability axioms. The defense of Shimony's calibration (...)
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  37.  32
    Paul Weirich, Computer Simulations in Game Theory.
    A computer simulation runs a model generating a phenomenon under investigation. For the simulation to be explanatory, the model has to be explanatory. The model must be isomorphic to the natural system that realizes the phenomenon. This paper elaborates the method of assessing a simulation's explanatory power. Then it illustrates the method by applying it to two simulations in game theory. The first is Brian Skyrms's (1990) simulation of interactive deliberations. It is intended to explain the emergence of a Nash (...)
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  38.  8
    Paul Weirich (1987). Mean-Risk Decision Analysis. Theory and Decision 23 (1):89-111.
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  39.  4
    Paul Weirich (1981). Decision When Desires Are Uncertain. Bowling Green Studies in Applied Philosophy 3:69-75.
    An agent in a decision problem may not know the goals that should guide selection of an option. Accommodating this ignorance require methods that supplement expected utility theory.
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  40. Paul Weirich (1999). [Book Review] Equilibrium and Rationality, Game Theory Revised by Decision Rules. [REVIEW] Ethics 109 (3):684-686.
    This book represents a major contribution to game theory. It offers this conception of equilibrium in games: strategic equilibrium. This conception arises from a study of expected utility decision principles, which must be revised to take account of the evidence a choice provides concerning its outcome. The argument for these principles distinguishes reasons for action from incentives, and draws on contemporary analyses of counterfactual conditionals. The book also includes a procedure for identifying strategic equilibria in ideal normal-form games. In synthesizing (...)
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  41.  6
    Paul Weirich (1981). Theory and Evidence. Philosophical Topics 12 (2):294-299.
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  42.  6
    Paul Weirich (2012). Calibration. In Henk W. de Regt (ed.), Epsa Philosophy of Science: Amsterdam 2009. Springer 415--425.
    Abner Shimony argues that degrees of belief satisfy the axioms of probability because their epistemic goal is to match estimates of objective probabilities. Because the estimates obey the axioms of probability, degrees of belief must also obey them to reach their epistemic goal. This calibration argument meets some objections, but with a few revisions it can surmount those objections. It offers a good alternative to the Dutch book argument for compliance with the probability axioms. The defense of Shimony's calibration argument (...)
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  43.  3
    Paul Weirich (2002). Comments on Ellis' “What Economists (and Everyone Else) Should Think About Utility Theory”. Southwest Philosophy Review 18 (2):117-120.
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  44.  5
    Paul Weirich (1991). The General Welfare As A Constitutional Goal. Social Philosophy Today 5:411-432.
    This essay examines how attention to the general welfare should influence the formulation of a constitution.
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  45.  5
    Paul Weirich (1999). Self-Supporting Strategies and Equilibria in Games. American Philosophical Quarterly 36 (4):323 - 336.
    A strategic equilibrium is a profile of strategies that are each self-supporting given the profile. Strategic equilibria exist in games without Nash equilibria.
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  46.  12
    Paul Weirich (2008). Utility Maximization Generalized. Journal of Moral Philosophy 5 (2):282-299.
    Theories of rationality advance principles that differ in topic, scope, and assumptions. A typical version of the principle of utility maximization formulates a standard rather than a procedure for decisions, evaluates decisions comprehensively, and relies on idealizations. I generalize the principle by removing some idealizations and making adjustments for their absence. The generalizations accommodate agents who have incomplete probability and utility assignments and are imperfectly rational. They also accommodate decision problems with unstable comparisons of options.
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  47.  15
    Paul Weirich (2009). Book Reviews Bermúdez, José Luis . Decision Theory and Rationality . Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009. Pp. 189. $50.00 (Cloth). [REVIEW] Ethics 119 (4):757-761.
  48.  15
    Paul Weirich (1989). Conventions and Social Institutions. Southern Journal of Philosophy 27 (4):599-618.
    This essay examines views of convention advanced by David Lewis and Margaret Gilbert.
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  49.  12
    Paul Weirich (1992). Rousseau on Equality. History of Philosophy Quarterly 9 (2):191 - 198.
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  50.  16
    Paul Weirich (1988). A Game-Theoretic Comparison of the Utilitarian and Maximin Rules of Social Choice. Erkenntnis 28 (1):117 - 133.
    I will characterize the utilitarian and maximin rules of social choice game-theoretically. That is, I will introduce games whose solutions are the utilitarian and maximin distributions respectively. Then I will compare the rules by exploring similarities and differences between these games. This method of comparison has been carried out by others. But I characterize the two rules using games that involve bargaining within power structures. This new characterization better highlights the ethical differences between the rules.
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