A conflict between finite additivity and avoiding dutch book

Philosophy of Science 50 (3):398-412 (1983)
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For Savage (1954) as for de Finetti (1974), the existence of subjective (personal) probability is a consequence of the normative theory of preference. (De Finetti achieves the reduction of belief to desire with his generalized Dutch-Book argument for Previsions.) Both Savage and de Finetti rebel against legislating countable additivity for subjective probability. They require merely that probability be finitely additive. Simultaneously, they insist that their theories of preference are weak, accommodating all but self-defeating desires. In this paper we dispute these claims by showing that the following three cannot simultaneously hold: (i) Coherent belief is reducible to rational preference, i.e. the generalized Dutch-Book argument fixes standards of coherence. (ii) Finitely additive probability is coherent. (iii) Admissible preference structures may be free of consequences, i.e. they may lack prizes whose values are robust against all contingencies



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Teddy Seidenfeld
Carnegie Mellon University

Citations of this work

Arguments For—Or Against—Probabilism?Alan Hájek - 2009 - In Franz Huber & Christoph Schmidt-Petri (eds.), Degrees of belief. London: Springer. pp. 229--251.
Arguments for–or against–Probabilism?Alan Hájek - 2008 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 59 (4):793-819.
Countable additivity and subjective probability.Jon Williamson - 1999 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 50 (3):401-416.
The Sure-Thing Principle.Jean Baccelli & Lorenz Hartmann - 2023 - Journal of Mathematical Economics 109 (102915).

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References found in this work

Coherence and the axioms of confirmation.Abner Shimony - 1955 - Journal of Symbolic Logic 20 (1):1-28.
Elicitation of Personal Probabilities and Expectations.Leonard Savage - 1971 - Journal of the American Statistical Association 66 (336):783-801.
Subjective probability: Criticisms, reflections, and problems.H. Kyburg - 1978 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 7 (1):157 - 180.

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