Synthese 191 (4):629-660 (2014)

John Barker
University of Illinois at Springfield
Paul Bartha
University of British Columbia
We examine a distinctive kind of problem for decision theory, involving what we call discontinuity at infinity. Roughly, it arises when an infinite sequence of choices, each apparently sanctioned by plausible principles, converges to a ‘limit choice’ whose utility is much lower than the limit approached by the utilities of the choices in the sequence. We give examples of this phenomenon, focusing on Arntzenius et al.’s Satan’s apple, and give a general characterization of it. In these examples, repeated dominance reasoning (a paradigm of rationality) apparently gives rise to a situation closely analogous to having intransitive preferences (a paradigm of irrationality). Indeed, the agents in these examples are vulnerable to a money pump set-up despite having preferences that exhibit no obvious defect of rationality. We explore several putative solutions to such problems, particularly those that appeal to binding and to deliberative dynamics. We consider the prospects for these solutions, concluding that if they fail, the examples show that money pump arguments are invalid
Keywords Infinite decision theory  Money-pump arguments  Decision-theoretic paradoxes
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DOI 10.1007/s11229-013-0379-9
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References found in this work BETA

The Logic of Decision.Richard C. Jeffrey - 1965 - University of Chicago Press.
Evolution of the Social Contract.Brian Skyrms - 1996 - Cambridge University Press.
The Dynamics of Rational Deliberation.Brian Skyrms - 1990 - Harvard University Press.

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Citations of this work BETA

God Meets Satan’s Apple: The Paradox of Creation.Rubio Daniel - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (12):2987-3004.
Deliberation Welcomes Prediction.Alan H’Ajek - 2016 - Episteme 13 (4):507-528.

View all 7 citations / Add more citations

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