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  1. Causal Decision Theory: A Counterexample.A. Ahmed - 2013 - Philosophical Review 122 (2):289-306.
    The essay presents a novel counterexample to Causal Decision Theory (CDT). Its interest is that it generates a case in which CDT violates the very principles that motivated it in the first place. The essay argues that the objection applies to all extant formulations of CDT and that the only way out for that theory is a modification of it that entails incompatibilism. The essay invites the reader to find this consequence of CDT a reason to reject it.
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  2. Sequential Choice and the Agent's Perspective.Arif Ahmed - manuscript
    Causal Decision Theory reckons the choice-worthiness of an option to be completely independent of its evidential bearing on its non-effects. But after one has made a choice this bearing is relevant to future decisions. Therefore it is possible to construct problems of sequential choice in which Causal Decision Theory makes a guaranteed loss. So Causal Decision Theory is wrong. The source of the problem is the idea that agents have a special perspective on their own contemplated actions, from which evidential (...)
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  3. Causal Decision Theory and the Fixity of the Past.Arif Ahmed - 2014 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 65 (4):665-685.
    Causal decision theory (CDT) cares only about the effects of a contemplated act, not its causes. The article 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. 1 The Argument2 The Argument in More Detail2.1 The betting mechanism2.2 Soft determinism2.3 The content of P 2.4 The argument again3 The Descriptive (...)
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  4. Dicing with Death.Arif Ahmed - 2014 - Analysis 74 (4):587-592.
    You should rather play hide-and-seek against someone who cannot predict where you hide than against someone who can, as the article illustrates in connection with a high-stakes example. Causal Decision Theory denies this. So Causal Decision Theory is false.
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  5. Push the Button.Arif Ahmed - 2012 - Philosophy of Science 79 (3):386-395.
    Opponents of Causal Decision Theory (CDT) sometimes claim (i) that it gives the wrong advice in Egan-style cases, where the CDT-endorsed act brings news that it causes a bad outcome; (ii) that CDT gives the right advice in Newcomb cases, where it is known in advance that the CDT-act causes you to be richer than the alternative. This paper argues that (i) and (ii) cannot both be true if rational preference over acts is transitive.
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  6. Smokers and Psychos: Egan Cases Don't Work.Arif Ahmed - manuscript
    Andy Egan's Smoking Lesion and Psycho Button cases are supposed to be counterexamples to Causal Decision Theory. This paper argues that they are not: more precisely, it argues that if CDT makes the right call in Newcomb's problem then it makes the right call in Egan cases too.
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  7. Causal Decision Theory and EPR Correlations.Arif Ahmed & Adam Caulton - 2014 - Synthese 191 (18):4315-4352.
    The paper argues that on three out of eight possible hypotheses about the EPR experiment we can construct novel and realistic decision problems on which (a) Causal Decision Theory and Evidential Decision Theory conflict (b) Causal Decision Theory and the EPR statistics conflict. We infer that anyone who fully accepts any of these three hypotheses has strong reasons to reject Causal Decision Theory. Finally, we extend the original construction to show that anyone who gives any of the three hypotheses any (...)
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  8. Cashing Out the Money-Pump Argument.Chrisoula Andreou - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies (6):1-5.
    The money-pump argument figures as the staple argument in support of the view that cyclic preferences are irrational. According to a prominent way of understanding the argument, it is grounded in the assumption that it is irrational to make choices that lead one to a dispreferred alternative. My aim in this paper is to motivate diffidence with respect to understanding the money-pump argument in this way by suggesting that if it is so understood, the argument emerges as question-begging and as (...)
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  9. The Real Puzzle of the Self-Torturer: Uncovering a New Dimension of Instrumental Rationality.Chrisoula Andreou - 2015 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 45 (5-6):562-575.
    The puzzle of the self-torturer raises intriguing questions concerning rationality, cyclic preferences, and resoluteness. Interestingly, what makes the case puzzling has not been clearly pinpointed. The puzzle, it seems, is that a series of rational choices foreseeably leads the self-torturer to an option that serves his preferences worse than the one with which he started. But this is a very misleading way of casting the puzzle. I pinpoint the real puzzle of the self-torturer and, in the process, reveal a neglected (...)
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  10. Dynamic Choice.Chrisoula Andreou - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    Sometimes a series of choices do not serve one's concerns well even though each choice in the series seems perfectly well suited to serving one's concerns. In such cases, one has a dynamic choice problem. Otherwise put, one has a problem related to the fact that one's choices are spread out over time. This survey reviews some of the challenging choice situations and problematic preference structures that can prompt dynamic choice problems. It also reviews some proposed solutions, and explains how (...)
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  11. There Are Preferences and Then There Are Preferences.Chrisoula Andreou - 2007 - In Barbara Montero and Mark D. White (ed.), Economics and the Mind.
    This paper draws a distinction between two closely related conceptions of 'preference' that is of great significance relative to a set of interrelated debates in rational choice theory. The distinction is particularly illuminating in relation to the idea that there is a rational defect inherent in individuals with intransitive preferences and, relatedly, in democratic collectives. I use the distinction to show that things are more complicated than they seem.
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  12. Ambiguity Aversion: The Explanatory Power of Indeterminate Probabilities.Horacio Arló-Costa & Jeffrey Helzner - 2010 - Synthese 172 (1):37-55.
    Daniel Ellsberg presented in Ellsberg (The Quarterly Journal of Economics 75:643–669, 1961) various examples questioning the thesis that decision making under uncertainty can be reduced to decision making under risk. These examples constitute one of the main challenges to the received view on the foundations of decision theory offered by Leonard Savage in Savage (1972). Craig Fox and Amos Tversky have, nevertheless, offered an indirect defense of Savage. They provided in Fox and Tversky (1995) an explanation of Ellsberg’s two-color problem (...)
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  13. How to Rationally Approach Life's Transformative Experiences.Marcus Arvan - 2015 - Philosophical Psychology 28 (8):1199-1218.
    In a widely discussed forthcoming article, “What you can't expect when you're expecting,” L. A. Paul challenges culturally and philosophically traditional views about how to rationally make major life-decisions, most specifically the decision of whether to have children. The present paper argues that because major life-decisions are transformative, the only rational way to approach them is to become resilient people: people who do not “over-plan” their lives or expect their lives to play out “according to plan”—people who understand that beyond (...)
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  14. Backward Induction and Beliefs About Oneself.Michael Bacharach - 1992 - Synthese 91 (3):247-284.
    According to decision theory, the rational initial action in a sequential decision-problem may be found by backward induction or folding back. But the reasoning which underwrites this claim appeals to the agent's beliefs about what she will later believe, about what she will later believe she will still later believe, and so forth. There are limits to the depth of people's beliefs. Do these limits pose a threat to the standard theory of rational sequential choice? It is argued, first, that (...)
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  15. A Paradox for Supertask Decision Makers.Andrew Bacon - 2011 - Philosophical Studies 153 (2):307.
    I consider two puzzles in which an agent undergoes a sequence of decision problems. In both cases it is possible to respond rationally to any given problem yet it is impossible to respond rationally to every problem in the sequence, even though the choices are independent. In particular, although it might be a requirement of rationality that one must respond in a certain way at each point in the sequence, it seems it cannot be a requirement to respond as such (...)
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  16. Three Doors, Two Players, and Single-Case Probabilities.Peter Baumann - 2005 - American Philosophical Quarterly 42 (1):71 - 79.
    The well known Monty Hall-problem has a clear solution if one deals with a long enough series of individual games. However, the situation is different if one switches to probabilities in a single case. This paper presents an argument for Monty Hall situations with two players (not just one, as is usual). It leads to a quite general conclusion: One cannot apply probabilistic considerations (for or against any of the strategies) to isolated single cases. If one does that, one cannot (...)
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  17. How Much Ambiguity Aversion? Finding Indifferences Between Ellsberg's Risky and Ambiguous Bets.Ken Binmore, Lisa Stewart & Alex Voorhoeve - 2012 - Journal of Risk and Uncertainty 45 (3):215-38.
    Experimental results on the Ellsberg paradox typically reveal behavior that is commonly interpreted as ambiguity aversion. The experiments reported in the current paper find the objective probabilities for drawing a red ball that make subjects indifferent between various risky and uncertain Ellsberg bets. They allow us to examine the predictive power of alternative principles of choice under uncertainty, including the objective maximin and Hurwicz criteria, the sure-thing principle, and the principle of insufficient reason. Contrary to our expectations, the principle of (...)
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  18. The Meaning of "Darn It!".Luc Bovens & Wlodek Rabinowicz - 2015 - In Iwao Hirose & Andrew Reisner (eds.), Weighing and Reasoning: Themes from the Philosophy of John Broome. Oxford University Press. pp. 129-39.
    In decision-theory, the notion of regret enters into the minimax decision-rule and has a determinate usage in this context. However, there are many alternative ways of conceiving of regret. The chapter constructs the einmalist- nicht-keinmal ('once is not never') game, in which a single sampling radically changes the expected value of the game in a way that is quite counterintuitive, as the basis for studying regret after a loss following the choice of an uncertain action. Crucially, the very loss affects (...)
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  19. Desire-as-Belief Revisited.Richard Bradley & Christian List - 2009 - Analysis 69 (1):31-37.
    On Hume’s account of motivation, beliefs and desires are very different kinds of propositional attitudes. Beliefs are cognitive attitudes, desires emotive ones. An agent’s belief in a proposition captures the weight he or she assigns to this proposition in his or her cognitive representation of the world. An agent’s desire for a proposition captures the degree to which he or she prefers its truth, motivating him or her to act accordingly. Although beliefs and desires are sometimes entangled, they play very (...)
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  20. Decision Theory.Lara Buchak - forthcoming - In Christopher Hitchcock & Alan Hajek (eds.), Oxford Handbook of Probability and Philosophy. Oxford University Press.
    Decision theory has at its core a set of mathematical theorems that connect rational preferences to functions with certain structural properties. The components of these theorems, as well as their bearing on questions surrounding rationality, can be interpreted in a variety of ways. Philosophy’s current interest in decision theory represents a convergence of two very different lines of thought, one concerned with the question of how one ought to act, and the other concerned with the question of what action consists (...)
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  21. Risk and Tradeoffs.Lara Buchak - 2012 - Erkenntnis 79 (S6):1091-1117.
    The orthodox theory of instrumental rationality, expected utility (EU) theory, severely restricts the way in which risk-considerations can figure into a rational individual's preferences. It is argued here that this is because EU theory neglects an important component of instrumental rationality. This paper presents a more general theory of decision-making, risk-weighted expected utility (REU) theory, of which expected utility maximization is a special case. According to REU theory, the weight that each outcome gets in decision-making is not the subjective probability (...)
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  22. Belief, Desire, and Revision.D. Collins - 1988 - Mind 97 (July):333-42.
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  23. Desire-as-Belief Implies Opinionation or Indifference.John Collins - 1995 - Analysis 55 (1):2 - 5.
    Rationalizations of deliberation often make reference to two kinds of mental state, which we call belief and desire. It is worth asking whether these kinds are necessarily distinct, or whether it might be possible to construe desire as belief of a certain sort — belief, say, about what would be good. An expected value theory formalizes our notions of belief and desire, treating each as a matter of degree. In this context the thesis that desire is belief might amount to (...)
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  24. Reason-Based Rationalization.Franz Dietrich & Christian List - manuscript
    [This version of the paper has been superseded by "Reason-based choice and context-dependence: An explanatory framework", forthcoming in Economics & Philosophy.] -/- We introduce a “reason-based” way of rationalizing an agent’s choice behaviour, which explains choices by specifying which properties of the options or choice context the agent cares about (the “motivationally salient properties”) and how he or she cares about these properties (the “fundamental preference relation”). Reason-based rationalizations can explain non-classical choice behaviour, including boundedly rational and sophisticated rational behaviour, (...)
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  25. The Two-Envelope Paradox: An Axiomatic Approach.Franz Dietrich & Christian List - 2005 - Mind 114 (454):239-248.
    There has been much discussion on the two-envelope paradox. Clark and Shackel (2000) have proposed a solution to the paradox, which has been refuted by Meacham and Weisberg (2003). Surprisingly, however, the literature still contains no axiomatic justification for the claim that one should be indifferent between the two envelopes before opening one of them. According to Meacham and Weisberg, "decision theory does not rank swapping against sticking [before opening any envelope]" (p. 686). To fill this gap in the literature, (...)
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  26. Egan and Agents: How Evidential Decision Theory Can Deal with Egan’s Dilemma.Daniel Dohrn - 2015 - Synthese 192 (6):1883-1908.
    Andy Egan has presented a dilemma for decision theory. As is well known, Newcomb cases appear to undermine the case for evidential decision theory. However, Egan has come up with a new scenario which poses difficulties for causal decision theory. I offer a simple solution to this dilemma in terms of a modified EDT. I propose an epistemological test: take some feature which is relevant to your evaluation of the scenarios under consideration, evidentially correlated with the actions under consideration albeit, (...)
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  27. Parity, Prospects, and Predominance.Ryan Doody - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies:1-19.
    Let’s say that you regard two things as on a par when you don’t prefer one to other and aren’t indifferent between them. What does rationality require of you when choosing between risky options whose outcomes you regard as on a par? According to Prospectism, you are required to choose the option with the best prospects, where an option’s prospects is a probability-distribution over its potential outcomes. In this paper, I argue that Prospectism violates a dominance principle—which I call The (...)
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  28. The Suppositional Ramsey Test and Decision-Instability.Simone Duca - 2011 - Topoi (1):53-57.
    Abstract I analyse the relationship between the Ramsey Test (RT) for the acceptance of indicative conditionals and the so-called problem of decision-instability. In particular, I argue that the situations which allegedly bring about this problem are troublesome just in case the relevant conditionals are evaluated by non-suppositional versions, e.g. causal/evidential, of the test. In contrast, a suppositional RT, by highlighting the metacognitive nature of the evaluation of indicative conditionals, allows an agent to run a simulation of such evaluation, without yet (...)
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  29. Strong and Weak Expectations.Kenny Easwaran - 2008 - Mind 117 (467):633-641.
    Fine has shown that assigning any value to the Pasadena game is consistent with a certain standard set of axioms for decision theory. However, I suggest that it might be reasonable to believe that the value of an individual game is constrained by the long-run payout of repeated plays of the game. Although there is no value that repeated plays of the Pasadena game converges to in the standard strong sense, I show that there is a weaker sort of convergence (...)
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  30. A Spurious Paradox.Danny Frederick - manuscript
    Niko Kolodny and John MacFarlane claim that a situation involving some trapped miners involves a deontic paradox the resolution of which requires rejecting the logical law of modus ponens. I show that the appearance of paradox results from confusion and that the miners case supplies no cogent reason for impugning modus ponens.
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  31. Risk, Ignorance, and What We Ought to Do.Danny Frederick - manuscript
    I consider cases in which risk or ignorance create barriers to our discovery of what we ought to do. I argue that neither expected utility theory, nor the maximin principle, nor a timid gambling temperament, is relevant to discovering what we ought to do in one-off or infrequently recurring types of decisions involving risk, or to decisions involving ignorance. I argue, contra Kolodny and MacFarlane, that the miners case does not require us to give up any classical logical principle in (...)
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  32. Theoretical and Practical Reason: A Critical Rationalist View.Danny Frederick - manuscript
    If the task of theoretical reason is to discover truth, or reasons for belief, then theoretical reason is impossible. Attempts to circumvent that by appeal to probabilities are self-defeating. If the task of practical reason is to discover what we ought to do or what actions are desirable or valuable, then practical reason is impossible. Appeals to the subjective ought or to subjective probabilities are self-defeating. Adapting Karl Popper, I argue that the task of theoretical reason is to obtain theories (...)
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  33. Perfectly Marked, Fair Tests with Unfair Marks.Joseph S. Fulda - 2009 - The Mathematical Gazette 93 (527):256-260.
    Shows how, as a consequence of the Arrow Impossibility Theorem, objectivity in grading is chimerical, given a sufficiently knowledgeable teacher (of his students, not his subject) in a sufficiently small class. -/- PDF available from JStor only; permission to post full version previously granted by journal editors and publisher expired. -/- Unpublished reply posted gratis.
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  34. A Note in Defence of Ratificationism.Johan E. Gustafsson - 2011 - Erkenntnis 75 (1):147-150.
    Andy Egan argues that neither evidential nor causal decision theory gives the intuitively right recommendation in the cases The Smoking Lesion, The Psychopath Button, and The Three-Option Smoking Lesion. Furthermore, Egan argues that we cannot avoid these problems by any kind of ratificationism. This paper develops a new version of ratificationism that gives the right recommendations. Thus, the new proposal has an advantage over evidential and casual decision theory and standard ratificationist evidential decision theory.
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  35. The Cable Guy Paradox.A. Hajek - 2005 - Analysis 65 (2):112-119.
    The Cable Guy is coming. You have to be home in order for him to install your new cable service, but to your chagrin he cannot tell you exactly when he will come. He will definitely come between 8.a.m. and 4 p.m. tomorrow, but you have no more information than that. I offer to keep you company while you wait. To make things more interesting, we decide now to bet on the Cable Guy’s arrival time. We subdivide the relevant part (...)
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  36. Desire Beyond Belief.Alan Hájek & Philip Pettit - 2004 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 82 (1):77-92.
    David Lewis [1988; 1996] canvases an anti-Humean thesis about mental states: that the rational agent desires something to the extent that he or she believes it to be good. Lewis offers and refutes a decision-theoretic formulation of it, the `Desire-as- Belief Thesis'. Other authors have since added further negative results in the spirit of Lewis's. We explore ways of being anti-Humean that evade all these negative results. We begin by providing background on evidential decision theory and on Lewis's negative results. (...)
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  37. Avoiding Certain Frustration, Reflection, and the Cable Guy Paradox.Brian Kierland, Bradley Monton & Samuel Ruhmkorff - 2008 - Philosophical Studies 138 (3):317 - 333.
    We discuss the cable guy paradox, both as an object of interest in its own right and as something which can be used to illuminate certain issues in the theories of rational choice and belief. We argue that a crucial principle—The Avoid Certain Frustration (ACF) principle—which is used in stating the paradox is false, thus resolving the paradox. We also explain how the paradox gives us new insight into issues related to the Reflection principle. Our general thesis is that principles (...)
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  38. Influencing the Others’ Minds: An Experimental Evaluation of the Use and Efficacy of Fallacious-Reducible Arguments in Web and Mobile Technologies.Antonio Lieto & Fabiana Vernero - 2014 - PsychNology Journa 12 (3):87-105.
    The research in Human Computer Interaction (HCI) has nowadays extended its attention to the study of persuasive technologies. Following this line of research, in this paper we focus on websites and mobile applications in the e-commerce domain. In particular, we take them as an evident example of persuasive technologies. Starting from the hypothesis that there is a strong connection between logical fallacies, i.e., forms of reasoning which are logically invalid but psychologically persuasive, and some common persuasion strategies adopted within these (...)
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  39. Simpson’s Paradox: A Logically Benign, Empirically Treacherous Hydra.Gary Malinas - 2001 - The Monist 84 (2):265-283.
    This article examines Simpson's paradox as applied to the theory of probabilites and percentages. The author discusses possible flaws in the paradox and compares it to the Sure Thing Principle, statistical inference, causal inference and probabilistic analyses of causation.
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  40. Simpson's Paradox and the Wayward Researcher.Gary Malinas - 1997 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 75 (3):343 – 359.
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  41. Minimally Constrained Maximisation.Joe Mintoff - 2007 - In Bruno Verbeek (ed.), Reasons and Intentions. Ashgate.
    This chapter argues that, under certain conditions, forming an intention makes an action rational which would otherwise not have been rational, since intentions (together with beliefs) in and of themselves provide deductive reasons for further intentions and actions, an argument which builds on previous work by R M Hare, Michael Bratman and others, It also provides an articulation and defense of the concept of "minimally constrained maximization" as a unified general solution to the well-known paradoxes of rationality, including the paradox (...)
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  42. Decision-Making and the Backward Induction Argument.Joe Mintoff - 1999 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 80 (1):64–77.
    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 (...)
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  43. Rational Cooperation, Intention, and Reconsideration.Joe Mintoff - 1997 - Ethics 107 (4):612-643.
    In their attempt to provide a reason to be moral, contractarians such as David Gauthier are concerned with situations allowing a group of agents the chance of mutual benefit, so long as at least some of them are prepared to constrain their maximising behaviour. But what justifies this constraint? Gauthier argues that it could be rational (because maximising) to intend to constrain one's behaviour, and in certain circumstances to act on this intention. The purpose of this paper is to examine (...)
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  44. On a Problem for Contractarianism.Joe Mintoff - 1996 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 74 (1):98 – 116.
    To show it is sometimes rational to cooperate in the Prisoner's Dilemma, David Gauthier has claimed that if it is rational to form an intention then it is sometimes rational act on it. However, the Paradox of Deterrence and the Toxin Puzzle seem to put this general type of claim into doubt. For even if it is rational to form a deterrent intention, it is not rational act on it (if it is not successful); and even if it is rational (...)
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  45. Rational Cooperation, Irrational Retaliation.Joe Mintoff - 1993 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 74 (4):362-380.
    David Gauthier has argued that, under certain conditions, cooperation in the Prisoner's Dilemma is rational. A crucial principle he employs in this argument, however, also implies the pointless retaliation after a failed threat could also be rational. In this paper, I introduce one possible reformulation of the Cooperation Argument, by replacing its second premise with a principle connecting rationally adopted intentions, rational action, and rational reconsideration, and a specific theory of rational reconsideration. I then argue that this reformulated Cooperation Argument (...)
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  46. Simon, Stigler et les théories de la rationalité limitée.P. Mongin - 1986 - Social Science Information 25 (3):555-606.
    This article reviews Herbert Simon's theory of bounded rationality, with a view of deemphasizing his "satisficing" model, and by contrast, of emphasizing his distinction between "procedural" and "substantive" rationality. The article also discusses a possible move from neo-classical economists to respond to Simon's criticisms, i.e., a reduction of bounded rationality to a special case of second-optimization, using Stigler's search theory. This move is eventually dismissed.
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  47. Does Optimization Imply Rationality?Philippe Mongin - 2000 - Synthese 124 (1):73-111.
    ABSTRACT. The relations between rationality and optimization have been widely discussed in the wake of Herbert Simon’s work, with the common conclusion that the rationality concept does not imply the optimization principle. The paper is partly concerned with adding evidence for this view, but its main, more challenging objective is to question the converse implication from optimization to rationality, which is accepted even by bounded rationality theorists. We discuss three topics in succession: (1) rationally defensible cyclical choices, (2) the revealed (...)
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  48. The Infinite Regress of Optimization.Philippe Mongin - 1991 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 14 (2):229-230.
    A comment on Paul Schoemaker's target article in Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 14 (1991), p. 205-215, "The Quest for Optimality: A Positive Heuristic of Science?" (https://doi.org/10.1017/S0140525X00066140). This comment argues that the optimizing model of decision leads to an infinite regress, once internal costs of decision (i.e., information and computation costs) are duly taken into account.
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  49. Against Moral Hedging.Ittay Nissan-Rozen - 2015 - Economics and Philosophy (3):1-21.
    It has been argued by several philosophers that a morally motivated rational agent who has to make decisions under conditions of moral uncertainty ought to maximize expected moral value in his choices, where the expectation is calculated relative to the agent's moral uncertainty. I present a counter-example to this thesis and to a larger family of decision rules for choice under conditions of moral uncertainty. Based on this counter-example, I argue against the thesis and suggest a reason for its failure (...)
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  50. Hume, the BAD Paradox, and Value Realism.Graham Oddie - 2001 - Philo 4 (2):109-122.
    A recent slew of arguments, if sound, would demonstrate that realism about value involves a kind of paradox-I call it the BAD paradox.More precisely, they show that if there are genuine propositions about the good, then one could maintain harmony between one’s desires and one’s beliefs about the good only on pain of violating fundamental principles of decision theory. I show. however, the BAD paradox turns out to be a version of Newcomb’s problem, and that the cognitivist about value can (...)
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