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Decision Theory with a Human Face

Cambridge University Press (2017)

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  1. Rational Preferences and Reindividuation of Relevant Alternatives in Decision Theory: Towards a Theory of Representation.Hadrien Mamou - 2020 - Topoi 39 (2):283-292.
    In this essay, I will examine Broome’s argument in Weighing Goods that aims to show that moderate Humeanism, according to which any coherent sets of preferences should be rationally acceptable, is not a sustainable view of decision theory. I will focus more specifically on the argument Broome uses to support his claim, and show that although it may get some traction, it does not undermine moderate Humeanism as we know it. After reconstructing Broome’s argument, I argue that standard decision theory (...)
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  • Dynamic consistency in the logic of decision.Gerard J. Rothfus - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (12):3923-3934.
    Arif Ahmed has recently argued that causal decision theory is dynamically inconsistent and that we should therefore prefer evidential decision theory. However, the principal formulation of the evidential theory, Richard Jeffrey’s Logic of Decision, has a mixed record of its own when it comes to evaluating plans consistently across time. This note probes that neglected record, establishing the dynamic consistency of evidential decision theory within a restricted class of problems but then illustrating how evidentialists can fall into sequential incoherence outside (...)
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  • XIII—Dutch BookandAccuracy Theorems.Anna Mahtani - forthcoming - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society.
    Dutch book and accuracy arguments are used to justify certain rationality constraints on credence functions. Underlying these Dutch book and accuracy arguments are associated theorems, and I show that the interpretation of these theorems can vary along a range of dimensions. Given that the theorems can be interpreted in a variety of different ways, what is the status of the associated arguments? I consider three possibilities: we could aggregate the results of the differently interpreted theorems in some way, and motivate (...)
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  • An Interventionist's Guide to Exotic Choice.Reuben Stern - forthcoming - Mind.
    In this paper, I use interventionist causal models to identify some novel Newcomb problems, and subsequently use these problems to refine existing interventionist treatments of causal decision theory. The new Newcomb problems that stir trouble for existing interventionist treatments involve so-called "exotic choice" --- i.e., decision-making contexts where the agent has evidence about the outcome of her choice. I argue that when choice is exotic, the interventionist can adequately capture causal-decision-theoretic reasoning by introducing a new interventionist approach to updating on (...)
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  • On the Individuation of Choice Options.Roberto Fumagalli - 2020 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 50 (4):338-365.
    Decision theorists have attempted to accommodate several violations of decision theory’s axiomatic requirements by modifying how agents’ choice options are individuated and formally represented. In recent years, prominent authors have worried that these modifications threaten to trivialize decision theory, make the theory unfalsifiable, impose overdemanding requirements on decision theorists, and hamper decision theory’s internal coherence. In this paper, I draw on leading descriptive and normative works in contemporary decision theory to address these prominent concerns. In doing so, I articulate and (...)
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  • What Is Risk Aversion?H. Orri Stefánsson & Richard Bradley - 2019 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 70 (1):77-102.
    According to the orthodox treatment of risk preferences in decision theory, they are to be explained in terms of the agent's desires about concrete outcomes. The orthodoxy has been criticised both for conflating two types of attitudes and for committing agents to attitudes that do not seem rationally required. To avoid these problems, it has been suggested that an agent's attitudes to risk should be captured by a risk function that is independent of her utility and probability functions. The main (...)
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  • Making Confident Decisions with Model Ensembles.Joe Roussos, Richard Bradley & Roman Frigg - forthcoming - Philosophy of Science.
    Many policy decisions take input from collections of scientific models. Such decisions face significant and often poorly understood uncertainty. We rework the so-called “confidence approach” to tackle decision-making under severe uncertainty with multiple models, and illustrate the approach with a case study: insurance pricing using hurricane models. The confidence approach has important consequences for this case and offers a powerful framework for a wide class of problems. We end by discussing different ways in which model ensembles can feed information into (...)
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  • Uncertain Preferences in Rational Decision.Moritz Schulz - 2020 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 63 (6):605-627.
    ABSTRACT Is uncertainty about preferences rationally possible? And if so, does it matter for rational decision? It is argued that uncertainty about preferences is possible and should play the same role in rational decision-making as uncertainty about worldly facts. The paper develops this hypothesis and defends it against various objections.
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  • The Evidentialist's Wager.William MacAskill, Aron Vallinder, Caspar Oesterheld, Carl Shulman & Johannes Treutlein - forthcoming - Journal of Philosophy.
    Suppose that an altruistic agent who is uncertain between evidential and causal decision theory finds herself in a situation where these theories give conflicting verdicts. We argue that even if she has significantly higher credence in CDT, she should nevertheless act in accordance with EDT. First, we claim that the appropriate response to normative uncertainty is to hedge one’s bets. That is, if the stakes are much higher on one theory than another, and the credences you assign to each of (...)
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  • Beliefs About the Unobserved.Chloé de Canson - 2020 - Dissertation, London School of Economics
    What should one believe about the unobserved? My thesis is a collection of four papers, each of which addresses this question. In the first paper, “Why Subjectivism?”, I consider the standing of a position called radical subjective Bayesianism, or subjectivism. The view is composed of two claims—that agents ought to be logically omniscient, and that there is no further norm of rationality—both of which are subject to seemingly conclusive objections. In this paper, I seek, if not to rehabilitate subjectivism, at (...)
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  • Rationality, Decisions and Large Worlds.Mareile Drechsler - 2012 - Dissertation, London School of Economics
    Taking Savage's subjective expected utility theory as a starting point, this thesis distinguishes three types of uncertainty which are incompatible with Savage's theory for small worlds: ambiguity, option uncertainty and state space uncertainty. Under ambiguity agents cannot form a unique and additive probability function over the state space. Option uncertainty exists when agents cannot assign unique consequences to every state. Finally, state space uncertainty arises when the state space the agent constructs is not exhaustive, such that unforeseen contingencies can occur. (...)
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  • Normative Decision Theory.Edward Elliott - 2019 - Analysis 79 (4):755-772.
    A review of some major topics of debate in normative decision theory from circa 2007 to 2019. Topics discussed include the ongoing debate between causal and evidential decision theory, decision instability, risk-weighted expected utility theory, decision-making with incomplete preferences, and decision-making with imprecise credences.
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  • Linguistic Structures and Economic Outcomes.Clas Weber & Astghik Mavisakalyan - 2017 - Journal of Economics Surveys 32 (3):916-939.
    Linguistic structures have recently started to attract attention from economists as determinants of economic phenomena. This paper provides the first comprehensive review of this nascent literature and its achievements so far. First, we explore the complex connections between language, culture, thought and behaviour. Then, we summarize the empirical evidence on the relationship between linguistic structures and economic and social outcomes. We follow up with a discussion of data, empirical design and identification. The paper concludes by discussing implications for future research (...)
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  • Bayesian Decision Theory and Stochastic Independence.Philippe Mongin - 2020 - Philosophy of Science 87 (1):152-178.
    As stochastic independence is essential to the mathematical development of probability theory, it seems that any foundational work on probability should be able to account for this property. Bayesian decision theory appears to be wanting in this respect. Savage’s postulates on preferences under uncertainty entail a subjective expected utility representation, and this asserts only the existence and uniqueness of a subjective probability measure, regardless of its properties. What is missing is a preference condition corresponding to stochastic independence. To fill this (...)
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  • Bayesian Variations: Essays on the Structure, Object, and Dynamics of Credence.Aron Vallinder - 2018 - Dissertation, London School of Economics
    According to the traditional Bayesian view of credence, its structure is that of precise probability, its objects are descriptive propositions about the empirical world, and its dynamics are given by conditionalization. Each of the three essays that make up this thesis deals with a different variation on this traditional picture. The first variation replaces precise probability with sets of probabilities. The resulting imprecise Bayesianism is sometimes motivated on the grounds that our beliefs should not be more precise than the evidence (...)
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  • Bayesian Decision Theory and Stochastic Independence.Philippe Mongin - 2017 - TARK 2017.
    Stochastic independence has a complex status in probability theory. It is not part of the definition of a probability measure, but it is nonetheless an essential property for the mathematical development of this theory. Bayesian decision theorists such as Savage can be criticized for being silent about stochastic independence. From their current preference axioms, they can derive no more than the definitional properties of a probability measure. In a new framework of twofold uncertainty, we introduce preference axioms that entail not (...)
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  • Imprecise Bayesianism and Global Belief Inertia.Aron Vallinder - 2018 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 69 (4):1205-1230.
    Traditional Bayesianism requires that an agent’s degrees of belief be represented by a real-valued, probabilistic credence function. However, in many cases it seems that our evidence is not rich enough to warrant such precision. In light of this, some have proposed that we instead represent an agent’s degrees of belief as a set of credence functions. This way, we can respect the evidence by requiring that the set, often called the agent’s credal state, includes all credence functions that are in (...)
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  • Imprecise Probabilities.Seamus Bradley - 2019 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  • Combining Probability with Qualitative Degree-of-Certainty Metrics in Assessment.Casey Helgeson, Richard Bradley & Brian Hill - 2018 - Climatic Change 149:517-525.
    Reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) employ an evolving framework of calibrated language for assessing and communicating degrees of certainty in findings. A persistent challenge for this framework has been ambiguity in the relationship between multiple degree-of-certainty metrics. We aim to clarify the relationship between the likelihood and confidence metrics used in the Fifth Assessment Report (2013), with benefits for mathematical consistency among multiple findings and for usability in downstream modeling and decision analysis. We discuss how our (...)
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  • The Dispositional Account of Credence.Anna Mahtani - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (3):727-745.
    In this paper I offer an alternative - the ‘dispositional account’ - to the standard account of imprecise probabilism. Whereas for the imprecise probabilist, an agent’s credal state is modelled by a set of credence functions, on the dispositional account an agent’s credal state is modelled by a set of sets of credence functions. On the face of it, the dispositional account looks less elegant than the standard account – so why should we be interested? I argue that the dispositional (...)
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  • Imprecise Probabilities.Anna Mahtani - 2019 - In Richard Pettigrew & Jonathan Weisberg (eds.), The Open Handbook of Formal Epistemology. PhilPapers Foundation. pp. 107-130.
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  • Decision Theory.Katie Steele & H. Orri Stefánsson - 2015 - In Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.