Philosophers Imprint 20 (30):1-21 (2020)

Authors
Miriam Schoenfield
University of Texas at Austin
Abstract
The usage of imprecise probabilities has been advocated in many domains: A number of philosophers have argued that our belief states should be “imprecise” in response to certain sorts of evidence, and imprecise probabilities have been thought to play an important role in disciplines such as artificial intelligence, climate science, and engineering. In this paper I’m interested in the question of whether the usage of imprecise probabilities can be given a practical motivation (a motivation based on practical rather than epistemic, or alethic concerns). My aim is to challenge the central motivation for using imprecise probabilities in decision-making that has been offered in the literature: the idea that, in at least some contexts, it’s desirable to be ambiguity averse. If I succeed, this will show that we need to reconsider whether there are good reasons to use imprecise probabilities in contexts in which making good decisions is what's of primary concern.
Keywords decision theory  ambiguity aversion  imprecise probabilities
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