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Paul Weirich
University of Missouri, Columbia
  1.  52
    Realistic Decision Theory: Rules for Nonideal Agents in Nonideal Circumstances.Paul Weirich - 2004 - Oup Usa.
    Within traditional decision theory, common decision principles - e.g. the principle to maximize utility -- generally invoke idealization; they govern ideal agents in ideal circumstances. In Realistic Decision Theory, Paul Weirch adds practicality to decision theory by formulating principles applying to nonideal agents in nonideal circumstances, such as real people coping with complex decisions. Bridging the gap between normative demands and psychological resources, Realistic Decision Theory is essential reading for theorists seeking precise normative decision principles that acknowledge the limits and (...)
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  2.  90
    Unsharp Sharpness.Nils‐Eric Sahlin & Paul Weirich - 2014 - Theoria 80 (1):100-103.
    In a recent, thought-provoking paper Adam Elga argues against unsharp – e.g., indeterminate, fuzzy and unreliable – probabilities. Rationality demands sharpness, he contends, and this means that decision theories like Levi's, Gärdenfors and Sahlin's, and Kyburg's, though they employ different decision rules, face a common, and serious, problem. This article defends the rule to maximize minimum expected utility against Elga's objection.
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  3.  47
    Causal Decision Theory.Paul Weirich - 2009 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  4. Decision Space: Multidimensional Utility Analysis.Paul Weirich - 2001 - Cambridge University Press.
    In Decision Space: Multidimensional Utility Analysis, first published in 2001, Paul Weirich increases the power and versatility of utility analysis and in the process advances decision theory. Combining traditional and novel methods of option evaluation into one systematic method of analysis, multidimensional utility analysis is a valuable tool. It provides formulations of important decision principles, such as the principle to maximize expected utility; enriches decision theory in solving recalcitrant decision problems; and provides in particular for the cases in which an (...)
     
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  5.  92
    Mild Contraction: Evaluating Loss of Information Due to Loss of Belief.Paul Weirich - 2005 - Mind 114 (455):753-757.
    This book review describes and evaluates Issac Levi's views about belief revision.
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  6.  43
    Economic Rationality.Paul Weirich - 2004 - In Alfred R. Mele & Piers Rawling (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Rationality. Oup Usa.
    Weirich examines three competing views entertained by economic theory about the instrumental rationality of decisions: the first says to maximize self-interest, the second to maximize utility, and the third to satisfice, that is, to adopt a satisfactory option. Critics argue that the first view is too narrow, that the second overlooks the benefits of teamwork and planning, and that the third, when carefully formulated, reduces to the second. Weirich defends a refined version of the principle to maximize utility. A broad (...)
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  7.  65
    Expected Utility and Risk.Paul Weirich - 1986 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 37 (4):419-442.
    The rule to maximize expected utility is intended for decisions where options involve risk. In those decisions the decision maker's attitude toward risk is important, and the rule ought to take it into account. Allais's and Ellsberg's paradoxes, however, suggest that the rule ignores attitudes toward risk. This suggestion is supported by recent psychological studies of decisions. These studies present a great variety of cases where apparently rational people violate the rule because of aversion or attraction to risk. Here I (...)
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  8.  20
    Utility Tempered with Equality.Paul Weirich - 1983 - Noûs 17 (3):423-439.
  9. Conditional Utility and its Place in Decision Theory.Paul Weirich - 1980 - Journal of Philosophy 77 (11):702-715.
    Causal decision theory attends to probabilities used to obtain an option's expected utility but for completeness should also attend to utilities of possible outcomes. A suitable formula for an option's expected utility uses a certain type of conditional utility.
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  10. Hierarchical Maximization of Two Kinds of Expected Utility.Paul Weirich - 1988 - Philosophy of Science 55 (4):560-582.
    Causal decision theory produces decision instability in cases such as Death in Damascus where a decision itself provides evidence concerning the utility of options. Several authors have proposed ways of handling this instability. William Harper (1985 and 1986) advances one of the most elegant proposals. He recommends maximizing causal expected utility among the options that are causally ratifiable. Unfortunately, Harper's proposal imposes certain restrictions; for instance, the restriction that mixed strategies are freely available. To obtain a completely general method of (...)
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  11. Conditional Probabilities and Probabilities Given Knowledge of a Condition.Paul Weirich - 1983 - Philosophy of Science 50 (1):82-95.
    The conditional probability of h given e is commonly claimed to be equal to the probability that h would have if e were learned. Here I contend that this general claim about conditional probabilities is false. I present a counter-example that involves probabilities of probabilities, a second that involves probabilities of possible future actions, and a third that involves probabilities of indicative conditionals. In addition, I briefly defend these counter-examples against charges that the probabilities they involve are illegitimate.
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  12.  20
    Collective Rationality: Equilibrium in Cooperative Games.Paul Weirich - 2009 - Oxford University Press USA.
    Groups of people perform acts that are subject to standards of rationality. A committee may sensibly award fellowships, or may irrationally award them in violation of its own policies. A theory of collective rationality defines collective acts that are evaluable for rationality and formulates principles for their evaluation. This book argues that a group's act is evaluable for rationality if it is the products of acts its members fully control. It also argues that such an act is collectively rational if (...)
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  13.  58
    Decision Instability.Paul Weirich - 1985 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 63 (4):465 – 472.
    In some decision problems adoption of an option furnishes evidence about the option's consequences. Rational decisions take account of that evidence, although it makes an option's adoption changes the option's expected utility.
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  14.  6
    Taking Chances: Essays on Rational Choice.Paul Weirich - 1995 - Ethics 106 (1):191-192.
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  15.  51
    Initiating Coordination.Paul Weirich - 2007 - Philosophy of Science 74 (5):790-801.
    How do rational agents coordinate in a single-stage, noncooperative game? Common knowledge of the payoff matrix and of each player's utility maximization among his strategies does not suffice. This paper argues that utility maximization among intentions and then acts generates coordination yielding a payoff-dominant Nash equilibrium. ‡I thank the audience at my paper's presentation at the 2006 PSA meeting for many insightful points. †To contact the author, please write to: Philosophy Department, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211; e-mail: WeirichP@missouri.edu.
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  16.  52
    Risk's Place in Decision Rules.Paul Weirich - 2001 - Synthese 126 (3):427-441.
    To handle epistemic and pragmatic risks, Gärdenfors and Sahlin design a decision procedure for cases in which probabilities are indeterminate. Their procedure steps outside the traditional expected utility framework. Must it do this? Can the traditional framework handle risk? This paper argues that it can. The key is a comprehensive interpretation of an option's possible outcomes. Taking possible outcomes more broadly than Gärdenfors and Sahlin do, expected utility can give risk its due. In particular, Good's decision procedure adequately handles indeterminate (...)
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  17.  68
    Belief and Acceptance.Paul Weirich - 2004 - In Ilkka Niiniluoto, Matti Sintonen & Jan Wolenski (eds.), Handbook of Epistemology. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic. pp. 499--520.
    The attitudes of belief and acceptance are similar but differ in important respects such as their relation to degree of belief.
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  18.  53
    Book ReviewKen Binmore,. Just Playing: Game Theory and the Social Contract, Volume 2. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1998. Pp. Xxiii + 589. $50.00. [REVIEW]Paul Weirich - 2001 - Ethics 111 (4):794-797.
  19. Models of Decision-Making: Simplifying Choices.Paul Weirich - 2014 - Cambridge University Press.
    The options in a decision problem generally have outcomes with common features. Putting aside the common features simplifies deliberations, but the simplification requires a philosophical justification that this book provides.
     
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  20.  53
    The St. Petersburg Gamble and Risk.Paul Weirich - 1984 - Theory and Decision 17 (2):193-202.
    One resolution of the St. Petersburg paradox recognizes that a gamble carries a risk sensitive to the gamble's stakes. If aversion to risk increases sufficiently fast as stakes go up, the St. Petersburg gamble has a finite utility.
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  21.  31
    Book Reviews Bermúdez, José Luis . Decision Theory and Rationality . Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009. Pp. 189. $50.00 (Cloth). [REVIEW]Paul Weirich - 2009 - Ethics 119 (4):757-761.
  22.  67
    Utility and Framing.Paul Weirich - 2010 - Synthese 176 (1):83 - 103.
    Standard principles of rational decision assume that an option's utility is both comprehensive and accessible. These features constrain interpretations of an option's utility. This essay presents a way of understanding utility and laws of utility. It explains the relation between an option's utility and its outcome's utility and argues that an option's utility is relative to a specification of the option. Utility's relativity explains how a decision problem's framing affects an option's utility and its rationality even for an agent who (...)
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  23.  35
    Introduction: Interactive Epistemology.Paul Weirich - 2011 - Episteme 8 (3):201-208.
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  24.  7
    Preference.Paul Weirich - 2013 - In Hugh LaFollette (ed.), The International Encyclopedia of Ethics. Wiley-Blackwell.
    Decision theory relies on an account of preference. Some accounts are behaviorist and others are mentalistic. The account used affects the explanatory power of decision theory.
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  25. Mark Kaplan, Decision Theory as Philosophy. [REVIEW]Paul Weirich - 1996 - Philosophy in Review 16 (3):179-180.
    Mark Kaplan proposes amending decision theory to accommodate better cases in which an agent's probability assignment is imprecise. The review describes and evaluates his proposals.
     
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  26.  33
    Optimization and Improvement. [REVIEW]Paul Weirich - 2010 - Philosophical Studies 148 (3):467 - 475.
    Agents face serious obstacles to making optimal decisions. For instance, their cognitive limits stand in the way. John Pollock’s book, Thinking about Acting , suggests many ways of revising decision principles to accommodate human limits and to direct limited, artificial agents. The book’s main proposal is to replace optimization, or expected-utility maximization, with locally global planning. This essay describes optimization and locally global planning, and then argues that optimization among salient options has the virtues of locally global planning without certain (...)
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  27.  8
    Does Collective Rationality Entail Efficiency?Paul Weirich - 2010 - Logic Journal of the IGPL 18 (2):308-322.
    Collective rationality in its ordinary sense is rationality’s extension to groups. It does not entail efficiency by definition. Showing that it entails efficiency requires a normative argument. Game theorists treating cooperative games generally assume that collective rationality entails efficiency, but formulating the reasoning that leads individuals to efficiency, and verifying the rationality of its steps, presents challenging philosophical issues. This paper constructs a framework for addressing those issues and reaches some preliminary results about the prospects of rational agents achieving efficiency (...)
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  28.  32
    A Decision Maker's Options.Paul Weirich - 1983 - Philosophical Studies 44 (2):175 - 186.
    An agent's options in a decision problem are best understood as the decisions that the agent might make. Taking options this way eliminates the gap between an option's adoption and its execution.
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  29.  11
    A Bias of Rationality.Paul Weirich - 1981 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 59 (1):31 – 37.
  30.  23
    Rousseau on Proportional Majority Rule.Paul Weirich - 1986 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 47 (1):111-126.
  31.  15
    Decisions in Dynamic Settings.Paul Weirich - 1986 - PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1986:438 - 449.
    In a decision problem with a dynamic setting there is at least one option whose realization would change the expected utilities of options by changing the probability or utility function with respect to which the expected utilities of options are computed. A familiar example is Newcomb's problem. William Harper proposes a generalization of causal decision theory intended to cover all decision problems with dynamic settings, not just Newcomb's problem. His generalization uses Richard Jeffrey's ideas on ratifiability, and material from game (...)
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  32.  50
    Interpersonal Utility in Principles of Social Choice.Paul Weirich - 1984 - Erkenntnis 21 (3):295 - 317.
    This paper summarizes and rebuts the three standard objections made by social choice theorists against interpersonal utility. The first objection argues that interpersonal utility is measningless. I show that this objection either focuses on irrelevant kinds of meaning or else uses implausible criteria of meaningfulness. The second objection argues that interpersonal utility has no role to play in social choice theory. I show that on the contrary interpersonal utility is useful in formulating goals for social choice. The third objection argues (...)
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  33.  3
    Probabilities in Decision Rules.Paul Weirich - 2010 - In Ellery Eells & James H. Fetzer (eds.), The Place of Probability in Science. Springer. pp. 289--319.
    The theory of direct reference suggests revising probability theory so that a probability attaches to a proposition given a way of understanding the proposition. The revisions make probabilities relative but do not change their structure.
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  34.  50
    Calibration.Paul Weirich - 2009 - In Henk W. de Regt (ed.), Epsa Philosophy of Science: Amsterdam 2009. Springer. pp. 415--425.
    Abner Shimony argues that degrees of belief satisfy the axioms of probability because their epistemic goal is to match estimates of objective probabilities. Because the estimates obey the axioms of probability, degrees of belief must also obey them to reach their epistemic goal. This calibration argument meets some objections, but with a few revisions it can surmount those objections. It offers a good alternative to the Dutch book argument for compliance with the probability axioms. The defense of Shimony's calibration argument (...)
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  35.  16
    Book Review:Taking Chances: Essays on Rational Choice. Jordan Howard Sobel. [REVIEW]Paul Weirich - 1995 - Ethics 106 (1):191-.
    J. Howard Sobel has long been recognized as an important figure in philosophical discussions of rational decision. He has done much to help formulate the concept of causal decision theory. In this volume of essays Sobel explores the Bayesian idea that rational actions maximize expected values, where an action's expected value is a weighted average of its agent's values for its possible total outcomes. Newcomb's Problem and The Prisoner's Dilemma are discussed, and Allais-type puzzles are viewed from the perspective of (...)
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  36.  58
    Collective Acts.Paul Weirich - 2012 - Synthese 187 (1):223-241.
    Groups of people perform acts. For example, a committee passes a resolution, a team wins a game, and an orchestra performs a symphony. These collective acts may be evaluated for rationality. Take a committee’s passing a resolution. This act may be evaluated not only for fairness but also for rationality. Did it take account of all available information? Is the resolution consistent with the committee’s past resolutions? Standards of collective rationality apply to collective acts, that is, acts that groups of (...)
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  37.  9
    Change in the Decision Sciences.Paul Weirich - 2018 - Lato Sensu, Revue de la Société de Philosophie des Sciences 5 (1):13-19.
    A common type of change in science occurs as theorists generalize a model of a phenomenon by removing some idealizations of the model. This type of change occurs in the decision sciences and also in the normative branch of the decision sciences that treats rational choice. After presenting a general ac-count of model generalization, the paper illustrates generalization of models in normative decision theory. The principal illustration generalizes a standard model of rational choice by removing the idealization that deliberation has (...)
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  38. Equilibrium and Rationality: Game Theory Revised by Decision Rules.Paul Weirich - 1998 - Cambridge University Press.
    This book represents a major contribution to game theory. It offers this conception of equilibrium in games: strategic equilibrium. This conception arises from a study of expected utility decision principles, which must be revised to take account of the evidence a choice provides concerning its outcome. The argument for these principles distinguishes reasons for action from incentives, and draws on contemporary analyses of counterfactual conditionals. The book also includes a procedure for identifying strategic equilibria in ideal normal-form games. In synthesizing (...)
     
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  39. Using Food Labels to Regulate Risks.Paul Weirich - 2008 - In Labeling Genetically Modified Food: The Philosophical and Legal Debate. Oup Usa.
     
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  40.  3
    Coordination and Hyperrationality.Paul Weirich - 2018 - ProtoSociology 35:197-214.
    Margaret Gilbert argues that although the rationality of the agents in a standard coordination problem does not suffice for their coordination, a social convention of coordination, understood as the agents’ joint acceptance of a principle requiring their coordination, does the job. Gilbert’s argument targets agents rational in the game-theoretic sense, which following Sobel, I call hyperrational agents. I agree that hyperrational agents may fail to coordinate in some cases despite the obvious benefits of coordination. However, I add that fully rational (...)
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  41.  4
    Equilibrium and Rationality: Game Theory Revised by Decision Rules.Robert Sugden & Paul Weirich - 2001 - Philosophical Review 110 (3):425.
    Like many theorists before him, Paul Weirich has set out to find the Holy Grail of classical game theory: the solution concept that identifies the uniquely rational solution to every non-cooperative game. In this book, he reports an intermediate stage in his quest. He cannot actually identify the unique solution for every game but, he believes, he has found a new concept of equilibrium that is a necessary property of that solution.
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  42.  50
    Exclusion From the Social Contract.Paul Weirich - 2011 - Politics, Philosophy and Economics 10 (2):148-169.
    Does rational bargaining yield a social contract that is efficient and so inclusive? A core allocation, that is, an allocation that gives each coalition at least as much as it can get on its own, is efficient. However, some coalitional games lack a core allocation, so rationality does not require one in those games. Does rationality therefore permit exclusion from the social contract? I replace realization of a core allocation with another type of equilibrium achievable in every coalitional game. Fully (...)
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  43.  16
    Decision When Desires Are Uncertain.Paul Weirich - 1981 - Bowling Green Studies in Applied Philosophy 3:69-75.
    An agent in a decision problem may not know the goals that should guide selection of an option. Accommodating this ignorance require methods that supplement expected utility theory.
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  44.  53
    Computer Simulations in Game Theory.Paul Weirich - manuscript
    A computer simulation runs a model generating a phenomenon under investigation. For the simulation to be explanatory, the model has to be explanatory. The model must be isomorphic to the natural system that realizes the phenomenon. This paper elaborates the method of assessing a simulation's explanatory power. Then it illustrates the method by applying it to two simulations in game theory. The first is Brian Skyrms's (1990) simulation of interactive deliberations. It is intended to explain the emergence of a Nash (...)
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  45.  28
    Mean-Risk Decision Analysis.Paul Weirich - 1987 - Theory and Decision 23 (1):89-111.
  46.  9
    Risk as a Consequence.Paul Weirich - 2020 - Topoi 39 (2):293-303.
    Expected-utility theory advances representation theorems that do not take the risk an act generates as a consequence of the act. However, a principle of expected-utility maximization that explains the rationality of preferences among acts must, for normative accuracy, take the act’s risk as a consequence of the act if the agent cares about the risk. I defend this conclusion against the charge that taking an act’s consequences to comprehend all the agent cares about trivializes the principle of expected-utility maximization.
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  47.  15
    Rousseau on Equality.Paul Weirich - 1992 - History of Philosophy Quarterly 9 (2):191 - 198.
  48.  21
    A Game-Theoretic Comparison of the Utilitarian and Maximin Rules of Social Choice.Paul Weirich - 1988 - Erkenntnis 28 (1):117 - 133.
    I will characterize the utilitarian and maximin rules of social choice game-theoretically. That is, I will introduce games whose solutions are the utilitarian and maximin distributions respectively. Then I will compare the rules by exploring similarities and differences between these games. This method of comparison has been carried out by others. But I characterize the two rules using games that involve bargaining within power structures. This new characterization better highlights the ethical differences between the rules.
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  49.  4
    [Book Review] Equilibrium and Rationality, Game Theory Revised by Decision Rules. [REVIEW]Paul Weirich - 1998 - Ethics 109 (3):684-686.
    This book represents a major contribution to game theory. It offers this conception of equilibrium in games: strategic equilibrium. This conception arises from a study of expected utility decision principles, which must be revised to take account of the evidence a choice provides concerning its outcome. The argument for these principles distinguishes reasons for action from incentives, and draws on contemporary analyses of counterfactual conditionals. The book also includes a procedure for identifying strategic equilibria in ideal normal-form games. In synthesizing (...)
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  50.  16
    Annie Petit . Auguste Comte: Trajectoires positivistes 1798–1998. 438 pp., bibl., index. Paris: L’Harmattan, 2003. [REVIEW]Paul Weirich - 2005 - Isis 96 (3):470-471.
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