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Adam Bales
Cambridge University
  1. Decision Theory for Agents with Incomplete Preferences.Adam Bales, Daniel Cohen & Toby Handfield - 2014 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 92 (3):453-70.
    Orthodox decision theory gives no advice to agents who hold two goods to be incommensurate in value because such agents will have incomplete preferences. According to standard treatments, rationality requires complete preferences, so such agents are irrational. Experience shows, however, that incomplete preferences are ubiquitous in ordinary life. In this paper, we aim to do two things: (1) show that there is a good case for revising decision theory so as to allow it to apply non-vacuously to agents with incomplete (...)
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  2.  64
    The Rationally Supererogatory.Claire Benn & Adam Bales - 2020 - Mind 129 (515):917-938.
    The notion of supererogation—going above and beyond the call of duty—is typically discussed in a moral context. However, in this paper we argue for the existence of rationally supererogatory actions: that is, actions that go above and beyond the call of rational duty. In order to establish the existence of such actions, we first need to overcome the so-called paradox of supererogation: we need to provide some explanation for why, if some act is rationally optimal, it is not the case (...)
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  3.  33
    Intentions and Instability: A Defence of Causal Decision Theory.Adam Bales - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (3):793-804.
    Andy Egan has recently presented a prominent objection to causal decision theory. However, in this paper, I argue that this objection fails if CDT’s proponent accepts the plausible view that decision-theoretic options are intentions. This result both provides a defence of CDT against a prominent objection and highlights the importance of resolving the nature of decision-theoretic options.
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  4.  52
    Indeterminate Permissibility and Choiceworthy Options.Adam Bales - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (7):1693-1702.
    Various people have claimed that some cases involve indeterminate permissibility. However, it’s unclear what guidance one can take away from this fact: are indeterminately permissible options choiceworthy and if so when? In this paper, I present a counterexample that undermines two existing responses to this question and I then present two alternative solutions that avoid this counterexample.
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  5.  92
    The Pauper’s Problem: Chance, Foreknowledge and Causal Decision Theory.Adam Bales - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (6):1497-1516.
    In a letter to Wlodek Rabinowicz, David Lewis introduced a decision scenario that he described as “much more problematic for decision theory than the Newcomb Problems”. This scenario, which involves an agent with foreknowledge of the outcome of some chance process, has received little subsequent attention. However, in one of the small number of discussions of such cases, Huw Price's Causation, Chance and the Rational Significance of Supernatural Evidence it has been argued that cases of this sort pose serious problems (...)
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  6.  42
    Richness and Rationality: Causal Decision Theory and the WAR Argument.Adam Bales - 2018 - Synthese 195 (1):259-267.
    Causal decision theory is one of our most prominent theories of rational choice and the “why ain’cha rich?” argument is one of the most prominent objections to this theory. According to WAR, CDT is not an adequate theory of rational choice because it leads agents to make decisions that foreseeably leave them less well off than agents that decide in some other manner. Some philosophers take WAR to decisively undermine CDT. On the other hand, others take WAR to fail to (...)
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  7.  41
    Decision-Theoretic Pluralism.Adam Bales - 2018 - Philosophical Quarterly 68 (273):801-818.
    A prominent philosophical debate concerns whether we should accept causal decision theory or evidential decision theory as our best theory of rational choice. However, instead of accepting one of these theories at the expense of the other, an alternative would be to accept that both theories play a partial role in the true account of rational choice. In this paper, I defend a pluralist account of this sort. In particular, I argue that rational permissibility is an indeterminate notion, with EDT (...)
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  8.  13
    Bad Apples and Broken Ladders: A Pragmatic Defence of Causal Decision Theory.Adam Bales - 2022 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 100 (1):117-130.
    ABSTRACT While pragmatic arguments are traditionally seen as supporting decision theory, recent discussions suggest the possibility of pragmatic arguments against this theory. I respond to two such arguments, and clarify what it would take for arguments of this sort to succeed.
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  9.  18
    Resolutions Provide Reasons Or: “How the Cookie Monster Quit Cookies”.Adam Bales & Toby Handfield - 2021 - Synthese 199 (1-2):4829-4840.
    Why should we typically act in accordance with our resolutions when faced with the temptation to do otherwise? A much-maligned view suggests that we should do so because resolutions themselves provide us with reasons for action. We defend a version of this view, on which resolutions provide second-order reasons. This account avoids the objections typically taken to be fatal for the view that resolutions are reasons, including the prominent bootstrapping objections.
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  10.  31
    Supererogation and Sequence.Adam Bales & Claire Benn - 2020 - Synthese 198 (8):7763-7780.
    Morally supererogatory acts are those that go above and beyond the call of duty. More specifically: they are acts that, on any individual occasion, are good to do and also both permissible to do and permissible to refrain from doing. We challenge the way in which discussions of supererogation typically consider our choices and actions in isolation. Instead we consider sequences of supererogatory acts and omissions and show that some such sequences are themselves problematic. This gives rise to the following (...)
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  11.  9
    Swiping.Adam Bales - 2015 - Philosophy of Photography 6 (1):131-139.
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