Representation theorems and the foundations of decision theory

Australasian Journal of Philosophy 89 (4):641 - 663 (2011)
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Abstract

Representation theorems are often taken to provide the foundations for decision theory. First, they are taken to characterize degrees of belief and utilities. Second, they are taken to justify two fundamental rules of rationality: that we should have probabilistic degrees of belief and that we should act as expected utility maximizers. We argue that representation theorems cannot serve either of these foundational purposes, and that recent attempts to defend the foundational importance of representation theorems are unsuccessful. As a result, we should reject these claims, and lay the foundations of decision theory on firmer ground

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Author Profiles

Christopher J. G. Meacham
University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Jonathan Weisberg
University of Toronto, Mississauga

Citations of this work

Decision Theory with a Human Face.Richard Bradley - 2017 - Cambridge University Press.
Unsettled Thoughts: A Theory of Degrees of Rationality.Julia Staffel - 2019 - Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press.
Reasons Without Persons: Rationality, Identity, and Time.Brian Hedden - 2015 - Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press UK.
Surreal Decisions.Eddy Keming Chen & Daniel Rubio - 2020 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 100 (1):54-74.

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The Logic of Decision.Richard C. Jeffrey - 1965 - New York, NY, USA: University of Chicago Press.
Scientific reasoning: the Bayesian approach.Peter Urbach & Colin Howson - 1993 - Chicago: Open Court. Edited by Peter Urbach.
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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