Distinguishing indeterminate belief from “risk-averse” preferences

Synthese 158 (2):189-205 (2007)
Katie Steele
Australian National University
I focus my discussion on the well-known Ellsberg paradox. I find good normative reasons for incorporating non-precise belief, as represented by sets of probabilities, in an Ellsberg decision model. This amounts to forgoing the completeness axiom of expected utility theory. Provided that probability sets are interpreted as genuinely indeterminate belief, such a model can moreover make the “Ellsberg choices” rationally permissible. Without some further element to the story, however, the model does not explain how an agent may come to have unique preferences for each of the Ellsberg options. Levi holds that the extra element amounts to innocuous secondary “risk” or security considerations that are used to break ties when more than one option is rationally permissible. While I think a lexical choice rule of this kind is very plausible, I argue that it involves a greater break with xpected utility theory than mere violation of the ordering axiom
Keywords Indeterminate belief  Imprecise probability  Ellsberg paradox  Risk aversion
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s11229-006-9119-8
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 38,097
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

The Foundations of Statistics.Leonard J. Savage - 1954 - Wiley Publications in Statistics.

View all 26 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Revising Incomplete Attitudes.Richard Bradley - 2009 - Synthese 171 (2):235 - 256.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles


Added to PP index

Total views
75 ( #91,773 of 2,313,443 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
8 ( #90,008 of 2,313,443 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature