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Tournament decision theory

Noûs 56 (1):176-203 (2020)

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  1. The End of Decision Theory.Brian Weatherson - manuscript
    What question are decision theorists trying to answer, and why is it worth trying to answer it? A lot of philosophers talk as if the aim of decision theory is to describe how we should make decisions, and the reason to do this is to help us make better decisions. I disagree on both fronts. The aim of the decision theory is to describe how a certain kind of idealised decider does in fact decide. And the reason to do this (...)
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  • Decision and foreknowledge.J. Dmitri Gallow - 2024 - Noûs 58 (1):77-105.
    My topic is how to make decisions when you possess foreknowledge of the consequences of your choice. Many have thought that these kinds of decisions pose a distinctive and novel problem for causal decision theory (CDT). My thesis is that foreknowledge poses no new problems for CDT. Some of the purported problems are not problems. Others are problems, but they are not problems for CDT. Rather, they are problems for our theories of subjunctive supposition. Others are problems, but they are (...)
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  • The Asymmetry, Uncertainty, and the Long Term.Teruji Thomas - 2019 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research (2):470-500.
    The asymmetry is the view in population ethics that, while we ought to avoid creating additional bad lives, there is no requirement to create additional good ones. The question is how to embed this intuitively compelling view in a more complete normative theory, and in particular one that treats uncertainty in a plausible way. While arguing against existing approaches, I present new and general principles for thinking about welfarist choice under uncertainty. Together, these reduce arbitrary choices to uncertainty-free ones, regardless (...)
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  • Can It Be Irrational to Knowingly Choose the Best?Jack Spencer - 2023 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 101 (1):128-139.
    Seeking a decision theory that can handle both the Newcomb problems that challenge evidential decision theory and the unstable problems that challenge causal decision theory, some philosophers recently have turned to ‘graded ratifiability’. However, the graded ratifiability approach to decision theory is, despite its virtues, unsatisfactory; for it conflicts with the platitude that it is always rationally permissible for an agent to knowingly choose their best option.
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  • Complaints and tournament population ethics.Abelard Podgorski - 2021 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 106 (2):344-367.
    In this paper, I develop an approach to population ethics which explains what we are permitted to do in virtue of the possible complaints against our action. This task is made difficult by a serious problem that arises when we attempt to generalize the view from two-option to many-option cases. The solution makes two significant moves – first, accepting that complaints are essentially pairwise comparative, and second, reimagining decision-making as a tournament between options competing two at a time. The right (...)
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  • The Causal Decision Theorist's Guide to Managing the News.J. Dmitri Gallow - 2020 - Journal of Philosophy 117 (3):117-149.
    According to orthodox causal decision theory, performing an action can give you information about factors outside of your control, but you should not take this information into account when deciding what to do. Causal decision theorists caution against an irrational policy of 'managing the news'. But, by providing information about factors outside of your control, performing an act can give you two, importantly different, kinds of good news. It can tell you that the world in which you find yourself is (...)
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  • Riches and Rationality.J. Dmitri Gallow - 2021 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 99 (1):114-129.
    A one-boxer, Erica, and a two-boxer, Chloe, engage in a familiar debate. The debate begins with Erica asking Chloe: ‘If you’re so smart, then why ain’cha rich?’. As the debate progresses, Chloe is led to endorse a novel causalist theory of rational choice. This new theory allows Chloe to forge a connection between rational choice and long-run riches. In brief: Chloe concludes that it is not long-run wealth but rather long-run wealth creation which is symptomatic of rationality.
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  • Escaping the Cycle.J. Dmitri Gallow - 2022 - Mind 131 (521):99-127.
    I present a decision problem in which causal decision theory appears to violate the independence of irrelevant alternatives (IIA) and normal-form extensive-form equivalence (NEE). I show that these violations lead to exploitable behavior and long-run poverty. These consequences appear damning, but I urge caution. This decision should lead causalists to a better understanding of what it takes for a decision between some collection of options to count as a subdecision of a decision between a larger collection of options. And with (...)
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  • The Value of Evidence and Ratificationism.Patryk Dziurosz-Serafinowicz - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-25.
    In sequential decision problems, an act of learning cost-free evidence might be symptomatic, in the sense that performing this act itself provides evidence about states of the world it does nothing to causally promote. It is well known that orthodox causal decision theory, like its main rival evidential decision theory, may sanction such acts as rationally impermissible. This paper shows that, under plausible assumptions, a minimal version of ratificationist causal decision theory, known as principled ratificationism, fares better in this respect, (...)
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  • Margin of victory for tournament solutions.Markus Brill, Ulrike Schmidt-Kraepelin & Warut Suksompong - 2022 - Artificial Intelligence 302 (C):103600.
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  • Cogito and Moore.David James Barnett - 2023 - Synthese 202 (1):1-27.
    Self-verifying judgments like _I exist_ seem rational, and self-defeating ones like _It will rain, but I don’t believe it will rain_ seem irrational_._ But one’s evidence might support a self-defeating judgment, and fail to support a self-verifying one. This paper explains how it can be rational to defy one’s evidence if judgment is construed as a mental performance or act, akin to inner assertion. The explanation comes at significant cost, however. Instead of causing or constituting beliefs, judgments turn out to (...)
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  • It Can Be Irrational to Knowingly Choose the Best.J. Dmitri Gallow - forthcoming - Australasian Journal of Philosophy.
    Jack Spencer argues we should reject a decision rule called MaxRat because it's incompatible with this principle: If you know that you will choose an option, x, and you know that x is better than every other option available to you, then it is permissible for you to choose x. I agree with Spencer that defenders of MaxRat should reject this principle. However, I disagree insofar as he suggests that he and orthodox causalists are in a position to accept it. (...)
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