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Rational Decision and Causality

Cambridge University Press (2009)

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  1. Probability, Confirmation, and the Conjunction Fallacy.Crupi Vincenzo, Fitelson Branden & Tentori Katya - 2008 - Thinking and Reasoning 14 (2):182-199.
    The conjunction fallacy has been a key topic in debates on the rationality of human reasoning and its limitations. Despite extensive inquiry, however, the attempt of providing a satisfactory account of the phenomenon has proven challenging. Here, we elaborate the suggestion (first discussed by Sides et al., 2001) that in standard conjunction problems the fallacious probability judgments experimentally observed are typically guided by sound assessments of confirmation relations, meant in terms of contemporary Bayesian confirmation theory. Our main formal result is (...)
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  • Some Counterexamples to Causal Decision Theory.Andy Egan - 2007 - Philosophical Review 116 (1):93-114.
    Many philosophers (myself included) have been converted to causal decision theory by something like the following line of argument: Evidential decision theory endorses irrational courses of action in a range of examples, and endorses “an irrational policy of managing the news”. These are fatal problems for evidential decision theory. Causal decision theory delivers the right results in the troublesome examples, and does not endorse this kind of irrational news-managing. So we should give up evidential decision theory, and be causal decision (...)
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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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  • Reversing 30 Years of Discussion: Why Causal Decision Theorists Should One-Box.Wolfgang Spohn - 2012 - Synthese 187 (1):95-122.
    The paper will show how one may rationalize one-boxing in Newcomb's problem and drinking the toxin in the Toxin puzzle within the confines of causal decision theory by ascending to so-called reflexive decision models which reflect how actions are caused by decision situations (beliefs, desires, and intentions) represented by ordinary unreflexive decision models.
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  • How to Confirm the Conjunction of Disconfirmed Hypotheses.David Atkinson, Jeanne Peijnenburg & Theo Kuipers - 2009 - Philosophy of Science 76 (1):1-21.
    Can some evidence confirm a conjunction of two hypotheses more than it confirms either of the hypotheses separately? We show that it can, moreover under conditions that are the same for ten different measures of confirmation. Further we demonstrate that it is even possible for the conjunction of two disconfirmed hypotheses to be confirmed by the same evidence.
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  • Probabilism, Representation Theorems, and Whether Deliberation Crowds Out Prediction.Edward Elliott - 2017 - Erkenntnis 82 (2):379-399.
    Decision-theoretic representation theorems have been developed and appealed to in the service of two important philosophical projects: in attempts to characterise credences in terms of preferences, and in arguments for probabilism. Theorems developed within the formal framework that Savage developed have played an especially prominent role here. I argue that the use of these ‘Savagean’ theorems create significant difficulties for both projects, but particularly the latter. The origin of the problem directly relates to the question of whether we can have (...)
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  • Demons, Deceivers And Liars: Newcomb’s Malin Génie. [REVIEW]Peter Slezak - 2006 - Theory and Decision 61 (3):277-303.
    A fully adequate solution to Newcomb’s Problem (Nozick 1969) should reveal the source of its extraordinary elusiveness and persistent intractability. Recently, a few accounts have independently sought to meet this criterion of adequacy by exposing the underlying source of the problem’s profound puzzlement. Thus, Sorensen (1987), Slezak (1998), Priest (2002) and Maitzen and Wilson (2003) share the ‘no box’ view according to which the very idea that there is a right choice is misconceived since the problem is ill-formed or incoherent (...)
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  • Hempel's Raven Paradox: A Lacuna in the Standard Bayesian Solution.Peter B. M. Vranas - 2004 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 55 (3):545-560.
    According to Hempel's paradox, evidence (E) that an object is a nonblack nonraven confirms the hypothesis (H) that every raven is black. According to the standard Bayesian solution, E does confirm H but only to a minute degree. This solution relies on the almost never explicitly defended assumption that the probability of H should not be affected by evidence that an object is nonblack. I argue that this assumption is implausible, and I propose a way out for Bayesians. Introduction Hempel's (...)
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  • How to Confirm the Disconfirmed. On Conjunction Fallacies and Robust Confirmation.David Atkinson, Jeanne Peijnenburg & Theo Kuipers - unknown
    Can some evidence confirm a conjunction of two hypotheses more than it confirms either of the hypotheses separately? We show that it can, moreover under conditions that are the same for nine different measures of confirmation. Further we demonstrate that it is even possible for the conjunction of two disconfirmed hypotheses to be confirmed by the same evidence.
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  • A Representation Theorem for Frequently Irrational Agents.Edward Elliott - 2017 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 46 (5):467-506.
    The standard representation theorem for expected utility theory tells us that if a subject’s preferences conform to certain axioms, then she can be represented as maximising her expected utility given a particular set of credences and utilities—and, moreover, that having those credences and utilities is the only way that she could be maximising her expected utility. However, the kinds of agents these theorems seem apt to tell us anything about are highly idealised, being always probabilistically coherent with infinitely precise degrees (...)
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  • Logic and Probability.Colin Howson - 1997 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 48 (4):517-531.
    This paper argues that Ramsey's view of the calculus of subjective probabilities as, in effect, logical axioms is the correct view, with powerful heuristic value. This heuristic value is seen particularly in the analysis of the role of conditionalization in the Bayesian theory, where a semantic criterion of synchronic coherence is employed as the test of soundness, which the traditional formulation of conditionalization fails. On the other hand, there is a generally sound rule which supports conditionalization in appropriate contexts, though (...)
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  • Decision Theory, Intelligent Planning and Counterfactuals.Michael John Shaffer - 2008 - Minds and Machines 19 (1):61-92.
    The ontology of decision theory has been subject to considerable debate in the past, and discussion of just how we ought to view decision problems has revealed more than one interesting problem, as well as suggested some novel modifications of classical decision theory. In this paper it will be argued that Bayesian, or evidential, decision-theoretic characterizations of decision situations fail to adequately account for knowledge concerning the causal connections between acts, states, and outcomes in decision situations, and so they are (...)
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  • Probability, Confirmation, and the Conjunction Fallacy.Vincenzo Crupi, Branden Fitelson & Katya Tentori - 2007 - Thinking and Reasoning 14 (2):182 – 199.
    The conjunction fallacy has been a key topic in debates on the rationality of human reasoning and its limitations. Despite extensive inquiry, however, the attempt to provide a satisfactory account of the phenomenon has proved challenging. Here we elaborate the suggestion (first discussed by Sides, Osherson, Bonini, & Viale, 2002) that in standard conjunction problems the fallacious probability judgements observed experimentally are typically guided by sound assessments of _confirmation_ relations, meant in terms of contemporary Bayesian confirmation theory. Our main formal (...)
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  • Bayes' Theorem.James Joyce - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    Bayes' Theorem is a simple mathematical formula used for calculating conditional probabilities. It figures prominently in subjectivist or Bayesian approaches to epistemology, statistics, and inductive logic. Subjectivists, who maintain that rational belief is governed by the laws of probability, lean heavily on conditional probabilities in their theories of evidence and their models of empirical learning. Bayes' Theorem is central to these enterprises both because it simplifies the calculation of conditional probabilities and because it clarifies significant features of subjectivist position. Indeed, (...)
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  • How Bayesian Confirmation Theory Handles the Paradox of the Ravens.Branden Fitelson & James Hawthorne - 2010 - In Ellery Eells & James Fetzer (eds.), The Place of Probability in Science. Springer. pp. 247--275.
    The Paradox of the Ravens (a.k.a,, The Paradox of Confirmation) is indeed an old chestnut. A great many things have been written and said about this paradox and its implications for the logic of evidential support. The first part of this paper will provide a brief survey of the early history of the paradox. This will include the original formulation of the paradox and the early responses of Hempel, Goodman, and Quine. The second part of the paper will describe attempts (...)
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  • 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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  • Comparing Probabilistic Measures of Explanatory Power.Jonah N. Schupbach - 2011 - Philosophy of Science 78 (5):813-829.
    Recently, in attempting to account for explanatory reasoning in probabilistic terms, Bayesians have proposed several measures of the degree to which a hypothesis explains a given set of facts. These candidate measures of "explanatory power" are shown to have interesting normative interpretations and consequences. What has not yet been investigated, however, is whether any of these measures are also descriptive of people’s actual explanatory judgments. Here, I present my own experimental work investigating this question. I argue that one measure in (...)
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  • The Paradox of Confirmation.Branden Fitelson - 2006 - Philosophy Compass 1 (1):95–113.
    Hempel first introduced the paradox of confirmation in (Hempel 1937). Since then, a very extensive literature on the paradox has evolved (Vranas 2004). Much of this literature can be seen as responding to Hempel’s subsequent discussions and analyses of the paradox in (Hempel 1945). Recently, it was noted that Hempel’s intuitive (and plausible) resolution of the paradox was inconsistent with his official theory of confirmation (Fitelson & Hawthorne 2006). In this article, we will try to explain how this inconsistency affects (...)
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  • Symmetries and Asymmetries in Evidential Support.Ellery Eells & Branden Fitelson - 2002 - Philosophical Studies 107 (2):129 - 142.
    Several forms of symmetry in degrees of evidential support areconsidered. Some of these symmetries are shown not to hold in general. This has implications for the adequacy of many measures of degree ofevidential support that have been proposed and defended in the philosophical literature.
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  • Are Newcomb Problems Really Decisions?James M. Joyce - 2007 - Synthese 156 (3):537-562.
    Richard Jeffrey long held that decision theory should be formulated without recourse to explicitly causal notions. Newcomb problems stand out as putative counterexamples to this ‘evidential’ decision theory. Jeffrey initially sought to defuse Newcomb problems via recourse to the doctrine of ratificationism, but later came to see this as problematic. We will see that Jeffrey’s worries about ratificationism were not compelling, but that valid ratificationist arguments implicitly presuppose causal decision theory. In later work, Jeffrey argued that Newcomb problems are not (...)
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  • Absence of Evidence and Evidence of Absence: Evidential Transitivity in Connection with Fossils, Fishing, Fine-Tuning, and Firing Squads.Elliott Sober - 2009 - Philosophical Studies 143 (1):63-90.
    “Absence of evidence isn’t evidence of absence” is a slogan that is popular among scientists and nonscientists alike. This article assesses its truth by using a probabilistic tool, the Law of Likelihood. Qualitative questions (“Is E evidence about H ?”) and quantitative questions (“How much evidence does E provide about H ?”) are both considered. The article discusses the example of fossil intermediates. If finding a fossil that is phenotypically intermediate between two extant species provides evidence that those species have (...)
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  • Is the Conjunction Fallacy Tied to Probabilistic Confirmation?Jonah N. Schupbach - 2012 - Synthese 184 (1):13-27.
    Crupi et al. (2008) offer a confirmation-theoretic, Bayesian account of the conjunction fallacy—an error in reasoning that occurs when subjects judge that Pr( h 1 & h 2 | e ) > Pr( h 1 | e ). They introduce three formal conditions that are satisfied by classical conjunction fallacy cases, and they show that these same conditions imply that h 1 & h 2 is confirmed by e to a greater extent than is h 1 alone. Consequently, they suggest (...)
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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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  • Causality.Jessica M. Wilson - 2006 - In Jessica Pfeifer & Sahotra Sarkar (eds.), The Philosophy of Science: An Encyclopedia. Routledge. pp. 90--100.
    Arguably no concept is more fundamental to science than that of causality, for investigations into cases of existence, persistence, and change in the natural world are largely investigations into the causes of these phenomena. Yet the metaphysics and epistemology of causality remain unclear. For example, the ontological categories of the causal relata have been taken to be objects (Hume 1739), events (Davidson 1967), properties (Armstrong 1978), processes (Salmon 1984), variables (Hitchcock 1993), and facts (Mellor 1995). (For convenience, causes and effects (...)
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  • Dependency Equilibria and the Causal Structure of Decision and Game Situation.Wolfgang Spohn - unknown
    The paper attempts to rationalize cooperation in the one-shot prisoners' dilemma (PD). It starts by introducing (and preliminarily investigating) a new kind of equilibrium (differing from Aumann's correlated equilibria) according to which the players' actions may be correlated (sect. 2). In PD the Pareto-optimal among these equilibria is joint cooperation. Since these equilibria seem to contradict causal preconceptions, the paper continues with a standard analysis of the causal structure of decision situations (sect. 3). The analysis then raises to a reflexive (...)
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  • Dependency Equilibria.Wolfgang Spohn - 2007 - Philosophy of Science 74 (5):775-789.
    This paper introduces a new equilibrium concept for normal form games called dependency equilibrium; it is defined, exemplified, and compared with Nash and correlated equilibria in Sections 2–4. Its philosophical motive is to rationalize cooperation in the one shot prisoners' dilemma. A brief discussion of its meaningfulness in Section 5 concludes the paper. †To contact the author, please write to: Department of Philosophy, University of Konstanz, 78457 Konstanz, Germany; e-mail: Wolfgang.Spohn@uni-konstanz.de.
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  • A Rationalization of Cooperation in the Iterated Prisoner's Dilemma.Wolfgang Spohn - unknown
    The paper is essentially a short version Spohn "Strategic Rationality" which emphasizes in particular how the ideas developed there may be used to shed new light on the iterated prisoner's dilemma (and on iterated Newcomb's problem).
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  • Causal Decision Theory.Paul Weirich - 2009 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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