Instrumental Rationality Without Separability

Erkenntnis:1-22 (2018)
Download Edit this record How to cite View on PhilPapers
Abstract
This paper argues that instrumental rationality is more permissive than expected utility theory. The most compelling instrumentalist argument in favour of separability, its core requirement, is that agents with non-separable preferences end up badly off by their own lights in some dynamic choice problems. I argue that once we focus on the question of whether agents' attitudes to uncertain prospects help define their ends in their own right, or instead only assign instrumental value in virtue of the outcomes they may lead to, we see that the argument must fail. Either attitudes to prospects assign non-instrumental value in their own right, in which case we cannot establish the irrationality of the dynamic choice behaviour of agents with non-separable preferences. Or they don't, in which case agents with non-separable preferences can avoid the problematic choice behaviour without adopting separable preferences.
PhilPapers/Archive ID
THOIRW-2
Revision history
Archival date: 2018-10-04
View upload history
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Added to PP index
2018-10-04

Total downloads
38 ( #29,119 of 35,924 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
38 ( #8,859 of 35,924 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks to external links.