Decision under normative uncertainty

Economics and Philosophy 38 (3):372-394 (2022)
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While ordinary decision theory focuses on empirical uncertainty, real decision-makers also face normative uncertainty: uncertainty about value itself. From a purely formal perspective, normative uncertainty is comparable to (Harsanyian or Rawlsian) identity uncertainty in the 'original position', where one's future values are unknown. A comprehensive decision theory must address twofold uncertainty -- normative and empirical. We present a simple model of twofold uncertainty, and show that the most popular decision principle -- maximising expected value (`Expectationalism') -- has different formulations, namely Ex-Ante Expectationalism, Ex-Post Expectationalism, and hybrid theories. These alternative theories recommend different decisions, reasoning modes, and attitudes to risk. But they converge under an interesting (necessary and sufficient) condition.

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Author Profiles

Franz Dietrich
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique
Brian Jabarian
University of Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne

Citations of this work

Decision under normative uncertainty.Franz Dietrich & Brian Jabarian - 2022 - Economics and Philosophy 38 (3):372-394.
There Is No Such Thing as Expected Moral Choice-Worthiness.Nicolas Côté - 2023 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 53 (1):1-20.
Suppositional Desires and Rational Choice Under Moral Uncertainty.Nicholas Makins - forthcoming - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy.
Uncertain preferences in rational decision.Moritz Schulz - 2020 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 63 (6):605-627.

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References found in this work

The Foundations of Statistics.Leonard J. Savage - 1956 - Philosophy of Science 23 (2):166-166.
Running risks morally.Brian Weatherson - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 167 (1):141-163.

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