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  1. We Are Optimizers: Re-Opening the Case for Rational Genuine Satisficing.Gary Goh - manuscript
    This paper critically reviews the arguments supporting rational genuine satisficing. The deconstructive effort unearths inherent problems with the position in both static and dynamic contexts. Many of these arguments build on Herbert Simon’s canonical arguments surrounding incommensurability and demandingness problems. Optimizing is re-constructed using the principles of instrumental satisficing to answer these charges. The resulting conception is both obviously undemanding and a recognizable response to focused decision making.
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  2. How To Be Rational: How to Think and Act Rationally.David Robert - manuscript
    This book is divided into 2 sections. In Section 1 (How to think rationally), I address how to acquire rational belief attitudes and, on that basis, I consider the question whether one ought to be skeptical of climate change. In Section 2 (How to act rationally), I address how to make rational choices and, on that basis, I consider the questions whether one is rationally required to do what one can to support life-extension medical research and, more broadly, whether one (...)
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  3. Why You Should One-Box in Newcomb's Problem.Howard J. Simmons - manuscript
    I consider a familiar argument for two-boxing in Newcomb's Problem and find it defective because it involves a type of divergence from standard Baysian reasoning, which, though sometimes justified, conflicts with the stipulations of the Newcomb scenario. In an appendix, I also find fault with a different argument for two-boxing that has been presented by Graham Priest.
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  4. What Rationality Is.Arif Ahmed -
    A choice function C is rational iff: if it allows a path through a sequence of decisions with a particular outcome, then that outcome is amongst the ones that C would have chosen from amongst all the possible outcomes of the sequence. This implies, and it is the strongest definition that implies, that anyone who is irrational could be talked out of their own preferences. It also implies weak but non-vacuous constraints on choices over ends. These do not include alpha (...)
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  5. Less is More for Bayesians, Too.Gregory Wheeler - forthcoming - In Routledge Handbook on Bounded Rationality.
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  6. A Restatement of Expected Comparative Utility Theory: A New Theory of Rational Choice Under Risk.David Robert - 2021 - Philosophical Forum 52 (3):221-243.
    In this paper, I argue for a new normative theory of rational choice under risk, namely expected comparative utility (ECU) theory. I first show that for any choice option, a, and for any state of the world, G, the measure of the choiceworthiness of a in G is the comparative utility (CU) 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 (...)
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  7. Dewey's Independent Factors in Moral Action.Steven Fesmire - 2020 - In Roberto Frega & Steven Levine (eds.), John Dewey's Ethical Theory: The 1932 Ethics. New York and London: pp. 18-39.
    Drawing on archival and published sources from 1926 to 1932, this chapter analyzes “Three Independent Factors in Morals” (1930) as a blueprint to Dewey’s chapters in the 1932 Ethics. The 1930 presentation is Dewey’s most concise and sophisticated critique of the quest in ethical theory for the central and basic source of normative justification. He argued that moral situations are heterogeneous in their origins and operations. They elude full predictability and are not controllable by the impositions of any abstract monistic (...)
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  8. An Externalist Decision Theory for a Pragmatic Epistemology.Brian Kim - 2019 - In Pragmatic Encroachment in Epistemology. Routledge.
    In recent years, some epistemologists have argued that practical factors can make the difference between knowledge and mere true belief. While proponents of this pragmatic thesis have proposed necessary and sufficient conditions for knowledge, it is striking that they have failed to address Gettier cases. As a result, the proposed analyses of knowledge are either lacking explanatory power or susceptible to counterexamples. Gettier cases are also worth reflecting on because they raise foundational questions for the pragmatist. Underlying these challenges is (...)
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  9. Measuring Belief and Risk Attitude.Sven Neth - 2019 - Electronic Proceedings in Theoretical Computer Science 297:354–364.
    Ramsey (1926) sketches a proposal for measuring the subjective probabilities of an agent by their observable preferences, assuming that the agent is an expected utility maximizer. I show how to extend the spirit of Ramsey's method to a strictly wider class of agents: risk-weighted expected utility maximizers (Buchak 2013). In particular, I show how we can measure the risk attitudes of an agent by their observable preferences, assuming that the agent is a risk-weighted expected utility maximizer. Further, we can leverage (...)
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  10. Choosing for Changing Selves.Richard Pettigrew - 2019 - Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
    What we value, like, endorse, want, and prefer changes over the course of our lives. Richard Pettigrew presents a theory of rational decision making for agents who recognise that their values will change over time and whose decisions will affect those future times.
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  11. Veritism, Epistemic Risk, and the Swamping Problem.Richard Pettigrew - 2019 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 97 (4):761-774.
    Veritism says that the fundamental source of epistemic value for a doxastic state is the extent to which it represents the world correctly: that is, its fundamental epistemic value is deter...
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  12. On the Instrumental Value of Hypothetical and Counterfactual Thought.Thomas Icard, Fiery Cushman & Joshua Knobe - 2018 - Proceedings of the 40th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society.
    People often engage in “offline simulation”, considering what would happen if they performed certain actions in the future, or had performed different actions in the past. Prior research shows that these simulations are biased towards actions a person considers to be good—i.e., likely to pay off. We ask whether, and why, this bias might be adaptive. Through computational experiments we compare five agents who differ only in the way they engage in offline simulation, across a variety of different environment types. (...)
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  13. Libertà del volere – dalla filosofia teoretica alla filosofia pratica. Un dialogo con Sandro Nannini.Christoph Lumer - 2018 - In Christoph Lumer & Giacomo Romano (eds.), Libertà del volere – dalla filosofia teoretica alla filosofia pratica. Un dialogo con Sandro Nannini. Roma; Messina (Italy): corisco. pp. 53-84.
    The article, first, reconstructs and criticizes Sandro Nannini’s incompatibilistic concept of freedom of decision and, second, develops a compatibilistic alternative, a synthesis of a rationalistic and an autonomous approach. Nannini justifies his conception primarily from a naturalistic point of view: it reflects our sense of agency, so he says. This is criticized as empirically wrong and methodically mistaken: The theory of freedom of decision is, actually, normative; it is about good decisions; naturalism cannot establish normative claims. The alternative is based, (...)
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  14. Expected Comparative Utility Theory: A New Theory of Rational Choice.David Robert - 2018 - Philosophical Forum 49 (1):19-37.
    In this paper, I argue for a new normative theory of rational choice under risk, namely expected comparative utility (ECU) theory. I first show that for any choice option, a, and for any state of the world, G, the measure of the choiceworthiness of a in G is the comparative utility (CU) 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 (...)
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  15. What Matters and How It Matters: A Choice-Theoretic Representation of Moral Theories.Franz Dietrich & Christian List - 2017 - Philosophical Review 126 (4):421-479.
    We present a new “reason-based” approach to the formal representation of moral theories, drawing on recent decision-theoretic work. We show that any moral theory within a very large class can be represented in terms of two parameters: a specification of which properties of the objects of moral choice matter in any given context, and a specification of how these properties matter. Reason-based representations provide a very general taxonomy of moral theories, as differences among theories can be attributed to differences in (...)
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  16. Decision Theory.Lara Buchak - 2016 - In Christopher Hitchcock & Alan Hajek (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Probability and Philosophy. Oxford University Press.
    Decision theory has at its core a set of mathematical theorems that connect rational preferences to functions with certain structural properties. The components of these theorems, as well as their bearing on questions surrounding rationality, can be interpreted in a variety of ways. Philosophy’s current interest in decision theory represents a convergence of two very different lines of thought, one concerned with the question of how one ought to act, and the other concerned with the question of what action consists (...)
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  17. Single-Peakedness and Semantic Dimensions of Preferences.Daniele Porello - 2016 - Logic Journal of the IGPL 24 (4).
    Among the possible solutions to the paradoxes of collective preferences, single-peakedness is significant because it has been associated to a suggestive conceptual interpretation: a single-peaked preference profile entails that, although individuals may disagree on which option is the best, they conceptualize the choice along a shared unique dimension, i.e. they agree on the rationale of the collective decision. In this article, we discuss the relationship between the structural property of singlepeakedness and its suggested interpretation as uni-dimensionality of a social choice. (...)
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  18. Bhagavad Gītā: The Dialectic of Four Moral Theories (Ethics-1, M08).Ranganathan Shyam - 2016 - In A. Raghuramaraju (ed.), Philosophy, E-PG Pathshala. Delhi: India, Department of Higher Education (NMEICT).
    This is the first of lessons on the Bhagavad Gītā. The Bhagavad Gītā is a small section of the Mahābhārata, which is a dialectical experiment in moral theory. Here the characters not only assume the role of prominent ethical theories, but must also work through the ethical challenge as a matter of practice. In this module I explicate the main arguments of the Gītā, which lead us from teleological accounts of ethics (Virtue Ethics, Consequentialism) to procedural accounts (Deontology and Bhakti). (...)
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  19. Revisiting Risk and Rationality: A Reply to Pettigrew and Briggs.Lara Buchak - 2015 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 45 (5):841-862.
    I have claimed that risk-weighted expected utility maximizers are rational, and that their preferences cannot be captured by expected utility theory. Richard Pettigrew and Rachael Briggs have recently challenged these claims. Both authors argue that only EU-maximizers are rational. In addition, Pettigrew argues that the preferences of REU-maximizers can indeed be captured by EU theory, and Briggs argues that REU-maximizers lose a valuable tool for simplifying their decision problems. I hold that their arguments do not succeed and that my original (...)
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  20. Philosophy as Conceptual Engineering: Inductive Logic in Rudolf Carnap's Scientific Philosophy.Christopher F. French - 2015 - Dissertation, University of British Columbia
    My dissertation explores the ways in which Rudolf Carnap sought to make philosophy scientific by further developing recent interpretive efforts to explain Carnap’s mature philosophical work as a form of engineering. It does this by looking in detail at his philosophical practice in his most sustained mature project, his work on pure and applied inductive logic. I, first, specify the sort of engineering Carnap is engaged in as involving an engineering design problem and then draw out the complications of design (...)
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  21. On Risk and Rationality.Brad Armendt - 2014 - Erkenntnis 79 (S6):1-9.
    It is widely held that the influence of risk on rational decisions is not entirely explained by the shape of an agent’s utility curve. Buchak (Erkenntnis, 2013, Risk and rationality, Oxford University Press, Oxford, in press) presents an axiomatic decision theory, risk-weighted expected utility theory (REU), in which decision weights are the agent’s subjective probabilities modified by his risk-function r. REU is briefly described, and the global applicability of r is discussed. Rabin’s (Econometrica 68:1281–1292, 2000) calibration theorem strongly suggests that (...)
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  22. Risk and Tradeoffs.Lara Buchak - 2014 - Erkenntnis 79 (S6):1091-1117.
    The orthodox theory of instrumental rationality, expected utility (EU) theory, severely restricts the way in which risk-considerations can figure into a rational individual's preferences. It is argued here that this is because EU theory neglects an important component of instrumental rationality. This paper presents a more general theory of decision-making, risk-weighted expected utility (REU) theory, of which expected utility maximization is a special case. According to REU theory, the weight that each outcome gets in decision-making is not the subjective probability (...)
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  23. The Locality and Globality of Instrumental Rationality: The Normative Significance of Preference Reversals.Brian Kim - 2014 - Synthese 191 (18):4353-4376.
    When we ask a decision maker to express her preferences, it is typically assumed that we are eliciting a pre-existing set of preferences. However, empirical research has suggested that our preferences are often constructed on the fly for the decision problem at hand. This paper explores the ramifications of this empirical research for our understanding of instrumental rationality. First, I argue that these results pose serious challenges for the traditional decision-theoretic view of instrumental rationality, which demands global coherence amongst all (...)
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  24. Just the Beginning for Ubuntu: Reply to Matolino and Kwindingwi.Thaddeus Metz - 2014 - South African Journal of Philosophy 33 (1):65-72.
    In an article titled ‘The end of ubuntu’ recently published in this journal, Bernard Matolino and Wenceslaus Kwindingwi argue that contemporary conditions in (South) Africa are such that there is no justification for appealing to an ethic associated with talk of ‘ubuntu’. They argue that political elites who invoke ubuntu do so in ways that serve nefarious functions, such as unreasonably narrowing discourse about how best to live, while the moral ideals of ubuntu are appropriate only for a bygone, pre-modern (...)
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  25. A Reason-Based Theory of Rational Choice.Franz Dietrich & Christian List - 2013 - Noûs 47 (1):104-134.
    There is a surprising disconnect between formal rational choice theory and philosophical work on reasons. The one is silent on the role of reasons in rational choices, the other rarely engages with the formal models of decision problems used by social scientists. To bridge this gap, we propose a new, reason-based theory of rational choice. At its core is an account of preference formation, according to which an agent’s preferences are determined by his or her motivating reasons, together with a (...)
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  26. Where Do Preferences Come From?Franz Dietrich & Christian List - 2013 - International Journal of Game Theory 42 (3):613-637.
    Rational choice theory analyzes how an agent can rationally act, given his or her preferences, but says little about where those preferences come from. Preferences are usually assumed to be fixed and exogenously given. Building on related work on reasons and rational choice, we describe a framework for conceptualizing preference formation and preference change. In our model, an agent's preferences are based on certain "motivationally salient" properties of the alternatives over which the preferences are held. Preferences may change as new (...)
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  27. On the Elusive Notion of Meta-Agreement.Valeria Ottonelli & Daniele Porello - 2013 - Politics, Philosophy and Economics 12 (1):68-92.
    Public deliberation has been defended as a rational and noncoercive way to overcome paradoxical results from democratic voting, by promoting consensus on the available alternatives on the political agenda. Some critics have argued that full consensus is too demanding and inimical to pluralism and have pointed out that single-peakedness, a much less stringent condition, is sufficient to overcome voting paradoxes. According to these accounts, deliberation can induce single-peakedness through the creation of a ‘meta-agreement’, that is, agreement on the dimension according (...)
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  28. Representation Theorems and the Foundations of Decision Theory.Christopher J. G. Meacham & Jonathan Weisberg - 2011 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 89 (4):641 - 663.
    Representation theorems are often taken to provide the foundations for decision theory. First, they are taken to characterize degrees of belief and utilities. Second, they are taken to justify two fundamental rules of rationality: that we should have probabilistic degrees of belief and that we should act as expected utility maximizers. We argue that representation theorems cannot serve either of these foundational purposes, and that recent attempts to defend the foundational importance of representation theorems are unsuccessful. As a result, we (...)
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  29. Iterated Random Selection as Intermediate Between Risk and Uncertainty.Horacio Arlo Costa & Jeffrey Helzner - 2009 - ISIPTA'09 ELECTRONIC PROCEEDINGS.
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  30. Duhemian Themes in Expected Utility Theory.Philippe Mongin - 2009 - In Anastasios Brenner and Jean Gayon (ed.), French Studies in the Philosophy of Science. Springer. pp. 303-357.
    This monographic chapter explains how expected utility (EU) theory arose in von Neumann and Morgenstern, how it was called into question by Allais and others, and how it gave way to non-EU theories, at least among the specialized quarters of decion theory. I organize the narrative around the idea that the successive theoretical moves amounted to resolving Duhem-Quine underdetermination problems, so they can be assessed in terms of the philosophical recommendations made to overcome these problems. I actually follow Duhem's recommendation, (...)
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  31. Introspection, Revealed Preference and Neoclassical Economics: A Critical Response to Don Ross on the Robbins-Samuelson Argument Pattern.D. Wade Hands - 2008 - Journal of the History of Economic Thought 30:1-26.
    Abstract: Don Ross’ Economic Theory and Cognitive Science (2005) provides an elaborate philosophical defense of neoclassical economics. He argues that the central features of neoclassical theory are associated with what he calls the Robbins-Samuelson argument pattern and that it can be reconciled with recent developments in experimental and behavioral economics, as well as contemporary cognitive science. This paper argues that Ross’ Robbins-Samuelson argument pattern is not in the work of either Robbins or Samuelson and in many ways is in conflict (...)
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  32. Review of Paul Weirich, Realistic Decision Theory: Rules for Nonideal Agents in Nonideal Circumstances[REVIEW]Adam Morton - 2005 - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2005 (8).
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  33. Does Optimization Imply Rationality?Philippe Mongin - 2000 - Synthese 124 (1):73-111.
    ABSTRACT. The relations between rationality and optimization have been widely discussed in the wake of Herbert Simon’s work, with the common conclusion that the rationality concept does not imply the optimization principle. The paper is partly concerned with adding evidence for this view, but its main, more challenging objective is to question the converse implication from optimization to rationality, which is accepted even by bounded rationality theorists. We discuss three topics in succession: (1) rationally defensible cyclical choices, (2) the revealed (...)
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  34. Expected Utility Theory.Philippe Mongin - 1998 - In John Davis, Wade Hands & Uskali Maki (eds.), Handbook of Economic Methodology. Edward Elgar. pp. 342-350.
    The paper summarizes expected utility theory, both in its original von Neumann-Morgenstern version and its later developments, and discusses the normative claims to rationality made by this theory.
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  35. Popper, the Rationality Principle and Economic Explanation.D. Wade Hands - 1991 - In G. K. Shaw (ed.), Economics, Culture, and Education: Essays in Honor of Mark Blaug. Edward Elgar. pp. 108-119.
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  36. A Foundation for Causal Decision Theory.Brad Armendt - 1986 - Topoi 5 (1):3-19.
    The primary aim of this paper is the presentation of a foundation for causal decision theory. This is worth doing because causal decision theory (CDT) is philosophically the most adequate rational decision theory now available. I will not defend that claim here by elaborate comparison of the theory with all its competitors, but by providing the foundation. This puts the theory on an equal footing with competitors for which foundations have already been given. It turns out that it will also (...)
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  37. Reason-Based Rationalization.Franz Dietrich & Christian List - manuscript
    [This version of the paper has been superseded by "Reason-based choice and context-dependence: An explanatory framework", forthcoming in Economics & Philosophy.] -/- We introduce a “reason-based” way of rationalizing an agent’s choice behaviour, which explains choices by specifying which properties of the options or choice context the agent cares about (the “motivationally salient properties”) and how he or she cares about these properties (the “fundamental preference relation”). Reason-based rationalizations can explain non-classical choice behaviour, including boundedly rational and sophisticated rational behaviour, (...)
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