Ambiguity, pessimism, and rational religious choice

Theory and Decision 69 (3):417-438 (2010)

Abstract

Using a subclass of the α-maximin expected-utility preference model, in which the decision maker’s degree of ambiguity and degree of pessimism are each parameterized, we present a theory of religious choice in the Pascalian decision theory tradition, one that can resolve dilemmas, address the “many Gods objection,” and address the ambiguity inherent in religious choice. Parameterizing both the degree of ambiguity and the degree of pessimism allows one to examine how the two interact to impact choice, which is useful regardless of the application. Applying this model to religious choice is a move beyond subjective expected-utility theory, allowing us to show that a change in either the degree of ambiguity or the degree of pessimism can lead a decision maker to “convert” from one religion to another.

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Tigran Melkonyan
University of Warwick

References found in this work

The Foundations of Statistics.Leonard J. Savage - 1954 - Wiley Publications in Statistics.
A Treatise on Probability.John Maynard Keynes - 1921 - London, England: Dover Publications.
The Foundations of Statistics.Leonard J. Savage - 1956 - Philosophy of Science 23 (2):166-166.
A treatise on probability.J. Keynes - 1924 - Revue de Métaphysique et de Morale 31 (1):11-12.
The Logic of Pascal's Wager.Ian Hacking - 1972 - American Philosophical Quarterly 9 (2):186 - 192.

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