Do we really need a knowledge-based decision theory?

Synthese 199 (3-4):7031-7059 (2021)
  Copy   BIBTEX


The paper investigates what type of motivation can be given for adopting a knowledge-based decision theory. KBDT seems to have several advantages over competing theories of rationality. It is commonly argued that this theory would naturally fit with the intuitive idea that being rational is doing what we take to be best given what we know, an idea often supported by appeal to ordinary folk appraisals. Moreover, KBDT seems to strike a perfect balance between the problematic extremes of subjectivist and objectivist decision theory. We argue that these alleged advantages do not stand up to a closer scrutiny: KBDT inherits the same kinds of problems as alternative decision theoretic frameworks but doesn’t retain any of the respective advantages. Moreover, differently from other knowledge-action principles advanced in the literature, KBDT cannot fully explain the intuitive connections between knowledge and rational action. We conclude that the most serious challenge for knowledge-based decision theorists is to provide a substantive rationale for the adoption of such a view.

Similar books and articles

Knowledge in Action.Jonathan Weisberg - 2013 - Philosophers' Imprint 13.
God’s Position in Espinoza’s Theory of Knowledge.Mohammad Baqir Qomi - 2013 - Journal of Philosophical Theological Research 15 (57):43-64.
4. Probability and Prodigality.Daniel Greco - 2013 - Oxford Studies in Epistemology 4:82.
Decision Theory.Lara Buchak - 2016 - In Christopher Hitchcock & Alan Hajek (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Probability and Philosophy. Oxford University Press.
Smokers, Psychos, and Decision-Theoretic Uncertainty.William MacAskill - 2016 - Journal of Philosophy 113 (9):425-445.
Rational Decisions.Ken Binmore - 2009 - Princeton University Press.


Added to PP

430 (#27,164)

6 months
178 (#4,541)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author Profiles

Davide Fassio
Zhejiang University
Jie Gao
Zhejiang University

Citations of this work

Epistemology without guidance.Nick Hughes - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 179 (1):163-196.
Gnostic Disagreement Norms.Domingos Faria - 2022 - European Journal of Analytic Philosophy 18 (1):(A2)5-22.

Add more citations

References found in this work

Knowledge and its Limits.Timothy Williamson - 2000 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press.
On What Matters: Two-Volume Set.Derek Parfit - 2011 - Oxford University Press.
Freedom and Resentment.Peter Strawson - 1962 - Proceedings of the British Academy 48:187-211.
Rationality Through Reasoning.John Broome - 2013 - Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.
The Logic of Decision.Richard C. Jeffrey - 1965 - New York, NY, USA: University of Chicago Press.

View all 92 references / Add more references