The kinematics of belief and desire

Synthese 156 (3):513-535 (2007)
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Abstract

Richard Jeffrey regarded the version of Bayesian decision theory he floated in ‘The Logic of Decision’ and the idea of a probability kinematics—a generalisation of Bayesian conditioning to contexts in which the evidence is ‘uncertain’—as his two most important contributions to philosophy. This paper aims to connect them by developing kinematical models for the study of preference change and practical deliberation. Preference change is treated in a manner analogous to Jeffrey’s handling of belief change: not as mechanical outputs of combinations of intrinsic desires plus information, but as a matter of judgement and of making up one’s mind. In the first section Jeffrey’s probability kinematics is motivated and extended to the treatment of changes in conditional belief. In the second, analogous kinematical models are developed for preference change and in particular belief-induced change that depends on an invariance condition for conditional preference. The two are the brought together in the last section in a tentative model of pratical deliberation.

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Richard Bradley
London School of Economics

Citations of this work

The Ethics of Nudge.Luc Bovens - 2008 - In Mats J. Hansson & Till Grüne-Yanoff (eds.), Preference Change: Approaches from Philosophy, Economics and Psychology. Springer, Theory and Decision Library A. pp. 207-20.
Where do preferences come from?Franz Dietrich & Christian List - 2013 - International Journal of Game Theory 42 (3):613-637.

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References found in this work

Laws and symmetry.Bas C. Van Fraassen - 1989 - New York: Oxford University Press.
The Logic of Decision.Richard C. Jeffrey - 1965 - New York, NY, USA: University of Chicago Press.
Truth and probability.Frank Ramsey - 2010 - In Antony Eagle (ed.), Philosophy of Probability: Contemporary Readings. New York: Routledge. pp. 52-94.

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