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  1. 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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  • Gandalf’s Solution to the Newcomb Problem.Ralph Wedgwood - 2013 - Synthese 190 (14):2643–2675.
    This article proposes a new theory of rational decision, distinct from both causal decision theory (CDT) and evidential decision theory (EDT). First, some intuitive counterexamples to CDT and EDT are presented. Then the motivation for the new theory is given: the correct theory of rational decision will resemble CDT in that it will not be sensitive to any comparisons of absolute levels of value across different states of nature, but only to comparisons of the differences in value between the available (...)
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  • Normative Decision Theory.Edward Elliott - 2019 - Analysis 79 (4):755-772.
    A review of some major topics of debate in normative decision theory from circa 2007 to 2019. Topics discussed include the ongoing debate between causal and evidential decision theory, decision instability, risk-weighted expected utility theory, decision-making with incomplete preferences, and decision-making with imprecise credences.
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  • Why Take Both Boxes?Jack Spencer & Ian Wells - 2019 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 99 (1):27-48.
    The crucial premise of the standard argument for two-boxing in Newcomb's problem, a causal dominance principle, is false. We present some counterexamples. We then offer a metaethical explanation for why the counterexamples arise. Our explanation reveals a new and superior argument for two-boxing, one that eschews the causal dominance principle in favor of a principle linking rational choice to guidance and actual value maximization.
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  • 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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  • Nonrational Belief Paradoxes as Byzantine Failures.Ryan Miller - manuscript
    David Christensen and others argue that Dutch Strategies are more like peer disagreements than Dutch Books, and should not count against agents’ conformity to ideal rationality. I review these arguments, then show that Dutch Books, Dutch Strategies, and peer disagreements are only possible in the case of what computer scientists call Byzantine Failures—uncorrected Byzantine Faults which update arbitrary values. Yet such Byzantine Failures make agents equally vulnerable to all three kinds of epistemic inconsistencies, so there is no principled basis for (...)
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  • Equal Opportunity and Newcomb’s Problem.Ian Wells - 2019 - Mind 128 (510):429-457.
    The 'Why ain'cha rich?' argument for one-boxing in Newcomb's problem allegedly vindicates evidential decision theory and undermines causal decision theory. But there is a good response to the argument on behalf of causal decision theory. I develop this response. Then I pose a new problem and use it to give a new 'Why ain'cha rich?' argument. Unlike the old argument, the new argument targets evidential decision theory. And unlike the old argument, the new argument is sound.
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  • Expecting the Unexpected.Tom Dougherty, Sophie Horowitz & Paulina Sliwa - 2015 - Res Philosophica 92 (2):301-321.
    In an influential paper, L. A. Paul argues that one cannot rationally decide whether to have children. In particular, she argues that such a decision is intractable for standard decision theory. Paul's central argument in this paper rests on the claim that becoming a parent is ``epistemically transformative''---prior to becoming a parent, it is impossible to know what being a parent is like. Paul argues that because parenting is epistemically transformative, one cannot estimate the values of the various outcomes of (...)
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  • On the Interpretation of Decision Theory.Samir Okasha - forthcoming - Economics and Philosophy:1-25.
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  • Normative Uncertainty as a Voting Problem.William MacAskill - 2016 - Mind 125 (500):967-1004.
    Some philosophers have recently argued that decision-makers ought to take normative uncertainty into account in their decisionmaking. These philosophers argue that, just as it is plausible that we should maximize expected value under empirical uncertainty, it is plausible that we should maximize expected choice-worthiness under normative uncertainty. However, such an approach faces two serious problems: how to deal with merely ordinal theories, which do not give sense to the idea of magnitudes of choice-worthiness; and how, even when theories do give (...)
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  • Public Reason's Chaos Theorem.Brian Kogelmann - 2019 - Episteme 16 (2):200-219.
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  • Causal Decision Theory is Safe From Psychopaths.Timothy Luke Williamson - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-21.
    Until recently, many philosophers took Causal Decision Theory to be more successful than its rival, Evidential Decision Theory. Things have changed, however, with a renewed concern that cases involving an extreme form of decision instability are counterexamples to CDT :392–403, 1984; Egan in Philos Rev 116:93–114, 2007). Most prominent among those cases of extreme decision instability is the Psychopath Button, due to Andy Egan; in that case, CDT recommends a seemingly absurd act that almost certainly results in your death. This (...)
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  • A New Problem with Mixed Decisions, Or: You’Ll Regret Reading This Article, But You Still Should.Benjamin Plommer - 2016 - Erkenntnis 81 (2):349-373.
    Andy Egan recently drew attention to a class of decision situations that provide a certain kind of informational feedback, which he claims constitute a counterexample to causal decision theory. Arntzenius and Wallace have sought to vindicate a form of CDT by describing a dynamic process of deliberation that culminates in a “mixed” decision. I show that, for many of the cases in question, this proposal depends on an incorrect way of calculating expected utilities, and argue that it is therefore unsuccessful. (...)
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  • Self‐Reinforcing and Self‐Frustrating Decisions.Caspar Hare & Brian Hedden - 2016 - Noûs 50 (3):604-628.
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  • A Critique of Benchmark Theory.Robert Bassett - 2015 - Synthese 192 (1):241-267.
    Benchmark theory , introduced by Ralph Wedgwood, departs from decision theories of pure expectation maximization like evidential decision theory and causal decision theory and instead ranks actions according to the desirability of an outcome they produce in some state of affairs compared to a standard—a benchmark—for that state of affairs. Wedgwood motivates BT through what he terms Gandalf’s principle, that the merits of an action in a given state should be evaluated relative only to the performances of other actions in (...)
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  • Philosophers Should Be Interested in ‘Common Currency’ Claims in the Cognitive and Behavioural Sciences.David Spurrett - 2014 - South African Journal of Philosophy 33 (2):211-221.
    A recurring claim in a number of behavioural, cognitive and neuro-scientific literatures is that there is, or must be, a unidimensional ‘common currency’ in which the values of different available options are represented. There is striking variety in the quantities or properties that have been proposed as determinants of the ordering in motivational strength. Among those seriously suggested are pain and pleasure, biological fitness, reward and reinforcement, and utility among economists, who have regimented the notion of utility in a variety (...)
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