Synthese 154 (1):5-52 (2007)

Authors
Paul Bartha
University of British Columbia
Abstract
Among recent objections to Pascal's Wager, two are especially compelling. The first is that decision theory, and specifically the requirement of maximizing expected utility, is incompatible with infinite utility values. The second is that even if infinite utility values are admitted, the argument of the Wager is invalid provided that we allow mixed strategies. Furthermore, Hájek has shown that reformulations of Pascal's Wager that address these criticisms inevitably lead to arguments that are philosophically unsatisfying and historically unfaithful. Both the objections and Hájek's philosophical worries disappear, however, if we represent our preferences using relative utilities rather than a one-place utility function. Relative utilities provide a conservative way to make sense of infinite value that preserves the familiar equation of rationality with the maximization of expected utility. They also provide a means of investigating a broader class of problems related to the Wager.
Keywords Philosophy   Philosophy   Epistemology   Logic   Metaphysics   Philosophy of Language
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DOI 10.1007/s11229-005-8006-z
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References found in this work BETA

The Logic of Decision.Richard C. Jeffrey - 1965 - University of Chicago Press.
Waging War on Pascal’s Wager.Alan Hájek - 2003 - Philosophical Review 112 (1):27-56.
Utilitarianism and Infinite Utility.Peter Vallentyne - 1993 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 71 (2):212 – 217.

View all 15 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Surreal Decisions.Eddy Keming Chen & Daniel Rubio - 2020 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 100 (1):54-74.
Salvaging Pascal’s Wager.Elizabeth Jackson & Andrew Rogers - 2019 - Philosophia Christi 21 (1):59-84.
On the Concept and Conservation of Critical Natural Capital.C. Tyler DesRoches - 2020 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science (N/A):1-22.
Infinite Prospects.Jeffrey Sanford Russell & Yoaav Isaacs - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.

View all 15 citations / Add more citations

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