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  1. added 2020-11-18
    Chaos, Add Infinitum.Hayden Wilkinson - manuscript
    Our universe is both chaotic and (most likely) infinite in space and time. But it is within this setting that we must make moral decisions. This presents problems. The first: due to our universe's chaotic nature, our actions often have long-lasting, unpredictable effects; and this means we typically cannot say which of two actions will turn out best in the long run. The second problem: due to the universe's infinite dimensions, and infinite population therein, we cannot compare outcomes by simply (...)
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  2. added 2020-11-18
    Infinite Aggregation and Risk.Hayden Wilkinson - manuscript
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  3. added 2020-10-30
    In Defence of Fanaticism.Hayden Wilkinson - 2020 - Global Priorities Institute Working Paper Series.
    Consider a decision between: 1) a certainty of a moderately good outcome, such as one additional life saved; 2) a lottery which probably gives a worse outcome, but has a tiny probability of some vastly better outcome (perhaps trillions of blissful lives created). Which is morally better? By expected value theory (with a plausible axiology), no matter how tiny that probability of the better outcome, (2) will be better than (1) as long that better outcome is good enough. But this (...)
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  4. added 2020-07-24
    Infinite Prospects.Jeffrey Sanford Russell & Yoaav Isaacs - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
    People with the kind of preferences that give rise to the St. Petersburg paradox are problematic---but not because there is anything wrong with infinite utilities. Rather, such people cannot assign the St. Petersburg gamble any value that any kind of outcome could possibly have. Their preferences also violate an infinitary generalization of Savage's Sure Thing Principle, which we call the *Countable Sure Thing Principle*, as well as an infinitary generalization of von Neumann and Morgenstern's Independence axiom, which we call *Countable (...)
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  5. added 2020-06-16
    Infinite Value and the Best of All Possible Worlds.Nevin Climenhaga - 2018 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 97 (2):367-392.
    A common argument for atheism runs as follows: God would not create a world worse than other worlds he could have created instead. However, if God exists, he could have created a better world than this one. Therefore, God does not exist. In this paper I challenge the second premise of this argument. I argue that if God exists, our world will continue without end, with God continuing to create value-bearers, and sustaining and perfecting the value-bearers he has already created. (...)
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  6. added 2020-06-16
    The Two-Envelope Paradox: An Axiomatic Approach.Franz Dietrich & Christian List - 2005 - Mind 114 (454):239-248.
    There has been much discussion on the two-envelope paradox. Clark and Shackel (2000) have proposed a solution to the paradox, which has been refuted by Meacham and Weisberg (2003). Surprisingly, however, the literature still contains no axiomatic justification for the claim that one should be indifferent between the two envelopes before opening one of them. According to Meacham and Weisberg, "decision theory does not rank swapping against sticking [before opening any envelope]" (p. 686). To fill this gap in the literature, (...)
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  7. added 2020-06-16
    Clark and Shackel on the Two‐Envelope Paradox.Jonathan Weisberg & Christopher Meacham - 2003 - Mind 112 (448):685-689.
    Clark and Shackel have recently argued that previous attempts to resolve the two-envelope paradox fail, and that we must look to symmetries of the relevant expected-value calculations for a solution. Clark and Shackel also argue for a novel solution to the peeking case, a variant of the two-envelope scenario in which you are allowed to look in your envelope before deciding whether or not to swap. Whatever the merits of these solutions, they go beyond accepted decision theory, even contradicting it (...)
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  8. added 2020-04-25
    Infinite Prospects.Jeffrey Sanford Russell & Yoaav Isaacs - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
    People with the kind of preferences that give rise to the St. Petersburg paradox are problematic---but not because there is anything wrong with infinite utilities. Rather, such people cannot assign the St. Petersburg gamble any value that any kind of outcome could possibly have. Their preferences also violate an infinitary generalization of Savage's Sure Thing Principle, which we call the *Countable Sure Thing Principle*, as well as an infinitary generalization of von Neumann and Morgenstern's Independence axiom, which we call *Countable (...)
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  9. added 2020-04-09
    Non-Archimedean Preferences Over Countable Lotteries.Jeffrey Sanford Russell - 2020 - Journal of Mathematical Economics 88 (May 2020):180-186.
    We prove a representation theorem for preference relations over countably infinite lotteries that satisfy a generalized form of the Independence axiom, without assuming Continuity. The representing space consists of lexicographically ordered transfinite sequences of bounded real numbers. This result is generalized to preference orders on abstract superconvex spaces.
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  10. added 2020-02-25
    How To Be Rational: How to Think and Act Rationally.David Robert - manuscript
    This paper is divided into 4 sections. In Sections 1 and 2, I address (1) how to acquire rational belief attitudes and (2) how to make rational choices. Building on Sections 1 and 2, I then answer two of the most pressing questions of our time: (3) Should you be skeptical of climate change? (4) Should you invest in life-extension medical research?
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  11. added 2020-01-17
    Expected Comparative Utility Theory: A New Theory of Rational Choice.David Robert - 2018 - Philosophical Forum 49 (1):19-37.
    This paper proposes a new theory of rational choice, Expected Comparative Utility (ECU) Theory. It is first argued that for any decision option, a, and any state of the world, G, the measure of the choiceworthiness of a in G is the comparative utility of a in G – that is, the difference in utility, in G, between a and whichever alternative to a carries the greatest utility in G. On the basis of this principle, it is then argued, roughly (...)
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  12. added 2019-12-13
    Too Much of a Good Thing: Decision-Making in Cases with Infinitely Many Utility Contributions.Christopher J. G. Meacham - forthcoming - Synthese:1-41.
    Theories that use expected utility maximization to evaluate acts have difficulty handling cases with infinitely many utility contributions. In this paper I present and motivate a way of modifying such theories to deal with these cases, employing what I call “direct difference taking”. This proposal has a number of desirable features: it’s natural and well-motivated, it satisfies natural dominance intuitions, and it yields plausible prescriptions in a wide range of cases. I then compare my account to the most plausible alternative, (...)
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  13. added 2019-11-15
    Aggregation for General Populations Without Continuity or Completeness.David McCarthy, Kalle M. Mikkola & J. Teruji Thomas - 2019 - arXiv.
    We generalize Harsanyi's social aggregation theorem. We allow the population to be infi nite, and merely assume that individual and social preferences are given by strongly independent preorders on a convex set of arbitrary dimension. Thus we assume neither completeness nor any form of continuity. Under Pareto indifference, the conclusion of Harsanyi's theorem nevertheless holds almost entirely unchanged when utility values are taken to be vectors in a product of lexicographic function spaces. The addition of weak or strong Pareto has (...)
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  14. added 2019-09-08
    Difference Minimizing Theory.Christopher J. G. Meacham - 2019 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 6.
    Standard decision theory has trouble handling cases involving acts without finite expected values. This paper has two aims. First, building on earlier work by Colyvan (2008), Easwaran (2014), and Lauwers and Vallentyne (2016), it develops a proposal for dealing with such cases, Difference Minimizing Theory. Difference Minimizing Theory provides satisfactory verdicts in a broader range of cases than its predecessors. And it vindicates two highly plausible principles of standard decision theory, Stochastic Equivalence and Stochastic Dominance. The second aim is to (...)
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  15. added 2019-05-29
    Salvaging Pascal’s Wager.Elizabeth Jackson & Andrew Rogers - 2019 - Philosophia Christi 21 (1):59-84.
    Many think that Pascal’s Wager is a hopeless failure. A primary reason for this is because a number of challenging objections have been raised to the wager, including the “many gods” objection and the “mixed strategy” objection. We argue that both objections are formal, but not substantive, problems for the wager, and that they both fail for the same reason. We then respond to additional objections to the wager. We show how a version of Pascalian reasoning succeeds, giving us a (...)
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  16. added 2018-09-04
    The Relatively Infinite Value of the Environment.Paul Bartha & C. Tyler DesRoches - 2017 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 95 (2):328-353.
    Some environmental ethicists and economists argue that attributing infinite value to the environment is a good way to represent an absolute obligation to protect it. Others argue against modelling the value of the environment in this way: the assignment of infinite value leads to immense technical and philosophical difficulties that undermine the environmentalist project. First, there is a problem of discrimination: saving a large region of habitat is better than saving a small region; yet if both outcomes have infinite value, (...)
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  17. added 2018-07-22
    Exceeding Expectations: Stochastic Dominance as a General Decision Theory.Christian Tarsney - manuscript
    The principle that rational agents should maximize expected utility or choiceworthiness is intuitively plausible in many ordinary cases of decision-making under uncertainty. But it is less plausible in cases of extreme, low-probability risk (like Pascal's Mugging), and intolerably paradoxical in cases like the St. Petersburg and Pasadena games. In this paper I show that, under certain conditions, stochastic dominance reasoning can capture most of the plausible implications of expectational reasoning while avoiding most of its pitfalls. Specifically, given sufficient background uncertainty (...)
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  18. added 2018-02-17
    Taking Stock of Infinite Value: Pascal’s Wager and Relative Utilities.Paul Bartha - 2007 - Synthese 154 (1):5-52.
    Among recent objections to Pascal's Wager, two are especially compelling. The first is that decision theory, and specifically the requirement of maximizing expected utility, is incompatible with infinite utility values. The second is that even if infinite utility values are admitted, the argument of the Wager is invalid provided that we allow mixed strategies. Furthermore, Hájek has shown that reformulations of Pascal's Wager that address these criticisms inevitably lead to arguments that are philosophically unsatisfying and historically unfaithful. Both the objections (...)
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  19. added 2017-02-17
    Wagering Against Divine Hiddenness.Elizabeth Jackson - 2016 - European Journal for Philosophy of Religion 8 (4):85-108.
    J.L. Schellenberg argues that divine hiddenness provides an argument for the conclusion that God does not exist, for if God existed he would not allow non-resistant non-belief to occur, but non-resistant non-belief does occur, so God does not exist. In this paper, I argue that the stakes involved in theistic considerations put pressure on Schellenberg’s premise that non-resistant non-belief occurs. First, I specify conditions for someone’s being a resistant non-believer. Then, I argue that many people fulfill these conditions because, given (...)
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  20. added 2011-10-26
    Infinite Utility.James Cain - 1995 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 73 (3):401 – 404.
    Suppose we wish to decide which of a pair of actions has better consequences in a case in which both actions result in infinite utility. Peter Vallentyne and others have proposed that one action has better consequences than a second if there is a time after which the cumulative utility of the first action always outstrips the cumulative utility of the second. I argue against this principle, in particular I show how cases may arise in which up to any point (...)
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  21. added 2010-09-02
    Binding and its Consequences.Christopher J. G. Meacham - 2010 - Philosophical Studies 149 (1):49-71.
    In “Bayesianism, Infinite Decisions, and Binding”, Arntzenius et al. (Mind 113:251–283, 2004 ) present cases in which agents who cannot bind themselves are driven by standard decision theory to choose sequences of actions with disastrous consequences. They defend standard decision theory by arguing that if a decision rule leads agents to disaster only when they cannot bind themselves, this should not be taken to be a mark against the decision rule. I show that this claim has surprising implications for a (...)
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