Results for 'Normative decision theory'

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  1. 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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  2. Decision Theory.Lara Buchak - 2016 - In Christopher Hitchcock & Alan Hajek (eds.), 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 (...)
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  3. Tournament Decision Theory.Abelard Podgorski - forthcoming - Noûs.
    The dispute in philosophical decision theory between causalists and evidentialists remains unsettled. Many are attracted to the causal view’s endorsement of a species of dominance reasoning, and to the intuitive verdicts it gets on a range of cases with the structure of the infamous Newcomb’s Problem. But it also faces a rising wave of purported counterexamples and theoretical challenges. In this paper I will describe a novel decision theory which saves what is appealing about the causal (...)
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  4. Belief gambles in epistemic decision theory.Mattias Skipper - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178 (2):407-426.
    Don’t form beliefs on the basis of coin flips or random guesses. More generally, don’t take belief gambles: if a proposition is no more likely to be true than false given your total body of evidence, don’t go ahead and believe that proposition. Few would deny this seemingly innocuous piece of epistemic advice. But what, exactly, is wrong with taking belief gambles? Philosophers have debated versions of this question at least since the classic dispute between William Clifford and William James (...)
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  5. Does MITE Make Right? Decision-Making Under Normative Uncertainty.Brian Hedden - 2016 - In Russ Schafer-Landau (ed.), Oxford Studies in Metaethics Volume 11. pp. 102-128.
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  6. Expected utility theory, Jeffrey’s decision theory, and the paradoxes.Philippe Mongin & Jean Baccelli - forthcoming - Synthese:1-19.
    In Richard Bradley's book, Decision Theory with a Human Face (2017), we have selected two themes for discussion. The first is the Bolker-Jeffrey (BJ) theory of decision, which the book uses throughout as a tool to reorganize the whole field of decision theory, and in particular to evaluate the extent to which expected utility (EU) theories may be normatively too demanding. The second theme is the redefinition strategy that can be used to defend EU (...)
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  7. 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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  8. 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 (...)
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  9. Scientific Rationality as Normative System.Vihren Bouzov - 2010 - LogosandEpisteme. An International Journal of Epistemology.
    ABSTRACT: Decision-theoretic approach and a nonlinguistic theory of norms are applied in the paper in an attempt to explain the nature of scientific rationality. It is considered as a normative system accepted by scientific community. When we say that a certain action is rational, we express a speaker’s acceptance of some norms concerning a definite action. Scientists can choose according to epistemic utility or other rules and values, which themselves have a variable nature. Rationality can be identified (...)
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  10. Meta-Reasoning in Making Moral Decisions Under Normative Uncertainty.Tomasz Żuradzki - 2016 - In Dima Mohammed & Marcin Lewiński (eds.), Argumentation and Reasoned Action. College Publications. pp. 1093-1104.
    I analyze recent discussions about making moral decisions under normative uncertainty. I discuss whether this kind of uncertainty should have practical consequences for decisions and whether there are reliable methods of reasoning that deal with the possibility that we are wrong about some moral issues. I defend a limited use of the decision theory model of reasoning in cases of normative uncertainty.
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  11. ‘Risk in a Simple Temporal Framework for Expected Utility Theory and for SKAT, the Stages of Knowledge Ahead Theory’, Risk and Decision Analysis, 2(1), 5-32. Selten Co-Author.Robin Pope & Reinhard Selten - 2010/2011 - Risk and Decision Analysis 2 (1).
    The paper re-expresses arguments against the normative validity of expected utility theory in Robin Pope (1983, 1991a, 1991b, 1985, 1995, 2000, 2001, 2005, 2006, 2007). These concern the neglect of the evolving stages of knowledge ahead (stages of what the future will bring). Such evolution is fundamental to an experience of risk, yet not consistently incorporated even in axiomatised temporal versions of expected utility. Its neglect entails a disregard of emotional and financial effects on well-being before a particular (...)
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  12.  59
    Practical Implications of Empirically Studying Moral Decision-Making.Nora Heinzelmann, Giuseppe Ugazio & Philippe Tobler - 2012 - Frontiers in Neuroscience 6:94.
    This paper considers the practical question of why people do not behave in the way they ought to behave. This question is a practical one, reaching both into the normative and descriptive domains of morality. That is, it concerns moral norms as well as empirical facts. We argue that two main problems usually keep us form acting and judging in a morally decent way: firstly, we make mistakes in moral reasoning. Secondly, even when we know how to act and (...)
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  13.  67
    Law, Decision, Necessity: Shifting the Burden of Responsibility.Johanna Jacques - 2016 - In Matilda Arvidssen, Leila Brännström & Panu Minkkinen (eds.), The Contemporary Relevance of Carl Schmitt: Law, Politics, Theology. Routledge. pp. 107-119.
    What does it mean to act politically? This paper contributes an answer to this question by looking at the role that necessity plays in the political theory of Carl Schmitt. It argues that necessity, whether in the form of existential danger or absolute values, does not affect the sovereign decision, which must be free from normative determinations if it is to be a decision in Schmitt’s sense at all. The paper then provides a reading of Schmitt (...)
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  14. Causal Decision Theory and Decision Instability.Brad Armendt - 2019 - Journal of Philosophy 116 (5):263-277.
    The problem of the man who met death in Damascus appeared in the infancy of the theory of rational choice known as causal decision theory. A straightforward, unadorned version of causal decision theory is presented here and applied, along with Brian Skyrms’ deliberation dynamics, to Death in Damascus and similar problems. Decision instability is a fascinating topic, but not a source of difficulty for causal decision theory. Andy Egan’s purported counterexample to causal (...)
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  15. 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, (...)
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  16. Decision Theory for Agents with Incomplete Preferences.Adam Bales, Daniel Cohen & Toby Handfield - 2014 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 92 (3):453-70.
    Orthodox decision theory gives no advice to agents who hold two goods to be incommensurate in value because such agents will have incomplete preferences. According to standard treatments, rationality requires complete preferences, so such agents are irrational. Experience shows, however, that incomplete preferences are ubiquitous in ordinary life. In this paper, we aim to do two things: (1) show that there is a good case for revising decision theory so as to allow it to apply non-vacuously (...)
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  17. Bayesian Decision Theory and Stochastic Independence.Philippe Mongin - 2020 - Philosophy of Science 87 (1):152-178.
    As stochastic independence is essential to the mathematical development of probability theory, it seems that any foundational work on probability should be able to account for this property. Bayesian decision theory appears to be wanting in this respect. Savage’s postulates on preferences under uncertainty entail a subjective expected utility representation, and this asserts only the existence and uniqueness of a subjective probability measure, regardless of its properties. What is missing is a preference condition corresponding to stochastic independence. (...)
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  18. Causal Decision Theory: A Counterexample.Arif Ahmed - 2013 - Philosophical Review 122 (2):289-306.
    The essay presents a novel counterexample to Causal Decision Theory (CDT). Its interest is that it generates a case in which CDT violates the very principles that motivated it in the first place. The essay argues that the objection applies to all extant formulations of CDT and that the only way out for that theory is a modification of it that entails incompatibilism. The essay invites the reader to find this consequence of CDT a reason to reject (...)
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  19. An Argument Against Causal Decision Theory.Jack Spencer - forthcoming - Analysis.
    I formulate a principle of preference, which I call the Guaranteed Principle. I argue that the preferences of rational agents satisfy the Guaranteed Principle, that the preferences of agents who embody causal decision theory do not, and hence that causal decision theory is false.
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  20. Moral Uncertainty in Bioethical Argumentation: A New Understanding of the Pro-Life View on Early Human Embryos.Tomasz Żuradzki - 2014 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 35 (6):441-457.
    In this article, I present a new interpretation of the pro-life view on the status of early human embryos. In my understanding, this position is based not on presumptions about the ontological status of embryos and their developmental capabilities but on the specific criteria of rational decisions under uncertainty and on a cautious response to the ambiguous status of embryos. This view, which uses the decision theory model of moral reasoning, promises to reconcile the uncertainty about the ontological (...)
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  21. Decision Theory: Yes! Truth Conditions: No!Nate Charlow - 2016 - In Nate Charlow Matthew Chrisman (ed.), Deontic Modality. Oxford University Press.
    This essay makes the case for, in the phrase of Angelika Kratzer, packing the fruits of the study of rational decision-making into our semantics for deontic modals—specifically, for parametrizing the truth-condition of a deontic modal to things like decision problems and decision theories. Then it knocks it down. While the fundamental relation of the semantic theory must relate deontic modals to things like decision problems and theories, this semantic relation cannot be intelligibly understood as representing (...)
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  22.  93
    Epistemic Decision Theory's Reckoning.Conor Mayo-Wilson & Gregory Wheeler - manuscript
    Epistemic decision theory (EDT) employs the mathematical tools of rational choice theory to justify epistemic norms, including probabilism, conditionalization, and the Principal Principle, among others. Practitioners of EDT endorse two theses: (1) epistemic value is distinct from subjective preference, and (2) belief and epistemic value can be numerically quantified. We argue the first thesis, which we call epistemic puritanism, undermines the second.
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  23. Decision Theory.Johanna Thoma - 2019 - In Richard Pettigrew & Jonathan Weisberg (eds.), The Open Handbook of Formal Epistemology. PhilPapers Foundation. pp. 57-106.
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  24. Realism in Normative Political Theory.Enzo Rossi & Matt Sleat - 2014 - Philosophy Compass 9 (10):689-701.
    This paper provides a critical overview of the realist current in contemporary political philosophy. We define political realism on the basis of its attempt to give varying degrees of autonomy to politics as a sphere of human activity, in large part through its exploration of the sources of normativity appropriate for the political and so distinguish sharply between political realism and non-ideal theory. We then identify and discuss four key arguments advanced by political realists: from ideology, from the relationship (...)
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  25. Decision Theory and Folk Psychology.Philip Pettit - 1991 - In Michael Bacharach & Susan Hurley (eds.), Essays in the Foundations of Decision Theory. Blackwell. pp. 147-175.
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  26. Bayesian Decision Theory and Stochastic Independence.Philippe Mongin - 2017 - TARK 2017.
    Stochastic independence has a complex status in probability theory. It is not part of the definition of a probability measure, but it is nonetheless an essential property for the mathematical development of this theory. Bayesian decision theorists such as Savage can be criticized for being silent about stochastic independence. From their current preference axioms, they can derive no more than the definitional properties of a probability measure. In a new framework of twofold uncertainty, we introduce preference axioms (...)
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  27. Causal Decision Theory and EPR Correlations.Arif Ahmed & Adam Caulton - 2014 - Synthese 191 (18):4315-4352.
    The paper argues that on three out of eight possible hypotheses about the EPR experiment we can construct novel and realistic decision problems on which (a) Causal Decision Theory and Evidential Decision Theory conflict (b) Causal Decision Theory and the EPR statistics conflict. We infer that anyone who fully accepts any of these three hypotheses has strong reasons to reject Causal Decision Theory. Finally, we extend the original construction to show that (...)
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  28. Transformative Experience and Decision Theory.Richard Pettigrew - 2015 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 91 (3):766-774.
    This paper is part of a book symposium for L. A. Paul (2014) Transformative Experience (OUP).
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  29. 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 (...)
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  30. 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 (...)
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  31. 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 (...)
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  32. How You Can Reasonably Form Expectations When You're Expecting.Nathaniel Sharadin - 2015 - Res Philosophica 92 (2):1-12.
    L.A. Paul has argued that an ordinary, natural way of making a decision -- by reflecting on the phenomenal character of the experiences one will have as a result of that decision -- cannot yield rational decision in certain cases. Paul's argument turns on the (in principle) epistemically inaccessible phenomenal character of certain experiences. In this paper I argue that, even granting Paul a range of assumptions, her argument doesn't work to establish its conclusion. This is because, (...)
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  33. Climate Justice and Democracy: A Normative Approach.Mahmudul Hasan - 2018 - International Journal of Political Theory 3 (1).
    This paper tackles a highly relevant issue, namely the relationship between climate justice and democracy. The driving motivation of the paper is to ask what principles of climate justice demand from democracies. The paper explores intrinsic and instrumental arguments and develops a sufficiency account: citizens are entitled to the emissions necessary not only to realize their basic needs but to participate as equals in political decision making.
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  34. Decision Theory, Symmetry and Causal Structure: Reply to Meacham and Weisberg.Michael Clark & Nicholas Shackel - 2003 - Mind 112 (448):691-701.
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  35. Conditionals in Causal Decision Theory.John Cantwell - 2013 - Synthese 190 (4):661-679.
    This paper explores the possibility that causal decision theory can be formulated in terms of probabilities of conditionals. It is argued that a generalized Stalnaker semantics in combination with an underlying branching time structure not only provides the basis for a plausible account of the semantics of indicative conditionals, but also that the resulting conditionals have properties that make them well-suited as a basis for formulating causal decision theory. Decision theory (at least if we (...)
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  36. 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 (...)
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  37. What Decision Theory Provides the Best Procedure for Identifying the Best Action Available to a Given Artificially Intelligent System?Samuel A. Barnett - 2018 - Dissertation, University of Oxford
    Decision theory has had a long-standing history in the behavioural and social sciences as a tool for constructing good approximations of human behaviour. Yet as artificially intelligent systems (AIs) grow in intellectual capacity and eventually outpace humans, decision theory becomes evermore important as a model of AI behaviour. What sort of decision procedure might an AI employ? In this work, I propose that policy-based causal decision theory (PCDT), which places a primacy on the (...)
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  38. Decision Theory, Philosophical Perspectives.Darren Bradley - 2013 - In Hal Pashler (ed.), Encyclopedia of the Mind. Sage Publications.
    Decision theory is concerned with how agents should act when the consequences of their actions are uncertain. The central principle of contemporary decision theory is that the rational choice is the choice that maximizes subjective expected utility. This entry explains what this means, and discusses the philosophical motivations and consequences of the theory. The entry will consider some of the main problems and paradoxes that decision theory faces, and some of responses that can (...)
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  39.  38
    Accuracy-Dominance and Conditionalization.Michael Nielsen - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies.
    Epistemic decision theory produces arguments with both normative and mathematical premises. I begin by arguing that philosophers should care about whether the mathematical premises (1) are true, (2) are strong, and (3) admit simple proofs. I then discuss a theorem that Briggs and Pettigrew (2020) use as a premise in a novel accuracy-dominance argument for conditionalization. I argue that the theorem and its proof can be improved in a number of ways. First, I present a counterexample that (...)
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  40. A Simpler and More Realistic Subjective Decision Theory.Haim Gaifman & Yang Liu - 2018 - Synthese 195 (10):4205--4241.
    In his classic book “the Foundations of Statistics” Savage developed a formal system of rational decision making. The system is based on (i) a set of possible states of the world, (ii) a set of consequences, (iii) a set of acts, which are functions from states to consequences, and (iv) a preference relation over the acts, which represents the preferences of an idealized rational agent. The goal and the culmination of the enterprise is a representation theorem: Any preference relation (...)
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  41. Exceeding Expectations: Stochastic Dominance as a General Decision Theory.Christian Tarsney - manuscript
    The principle that rational agents should maximize expected utility or choiceworthiness is intuitively plausible in many ordinary cases of decision-making under uncertainty. But it is less plausible in cases of extreme, low-probability risk (like Pascal's Mugging), and intolerably paradoxical in cases like the St. Petersburg and Pasadena games. In this paper I show that, under certain conditions, stochastic dominance reasoning can capture most of the plausible implications of expectational reasoning while avoiding most of its pitfalls. Specifically, given sufficient background (...)
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  42. Preference Reversals in Judgment and Choice.Marcus Selart - 1994 - Gothenburg University Press.
    According to normative decision theory there exists a principle of procedure invariance which states that a decision maker's preference order should remain the same, independently of which response mode is used. For example, the decision maker should express the same preference independently of whether he or she has to judge or decide. Nevertheless, previous research in behavioral decision making has suggested that judgments and choices yield different preference orders in both the risky and the (...)
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  43.  67
    Decision Theory.Ben Eggleston - 2017 - In Sacha Golub & Jens Timmermann (eds.), The Cambridge History of Moral Philosophy. pp. 706-717.
    A book chapter (about 4,000 words, plus references) on decision theory in moral philosophy, with particular attention to uses of decision theory in specifying the contents of moral principles (e.g., expected-value forms of act and rule utilitarianism), uses of decision theory in arguing in support of moral principles (e.g., the hypothetical-choice arguments of Harsanyi and Rawls), and attempts to derive morality from rationality (e.g., the views of Gauthier and McClennen).
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  44. Rethinking Nudge: Not One But Three Concepts.Philippe Mongin & Mikael Cozic - 2018 - Behavioural Public Policy 2:107-124.
    Nudge is a concept of policy intervention that originates in Thaler and Sunstein's (2008) popular eponymous book. Following their own hints, we distinguish three properties of nudge interventions: they redirect individual choices by only slightly altering choice conditions (here nudge 1), they use rationality failures instrumentally (here nudge 2), and they alleviate the unfavourable effects of these failures (here nudge 3). We explore each property in semantic detail and show that no entailment relation holds between them. This calls into question (...)
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  45. Moral Uncertainty for Deontologists.Christian Tarsney - 2018 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 21 (3):505-520.
    Defenders of deontological constraints in normative ethics face a challenge: how should an agent decide what to do when she is uncertain whether some course of action would violate a constraint? The most common response to this challenge has been to defend a threshold principle on which it is subjectively permissible to act iff the agent's credence that her action would be constraint-violating is below some threshold t. But the threshold approach seems arbitrary and unmotivated: what would possibly determine (...)
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  46. Intertheoretic Value Comparison: A Modest Proposal.Christian Tarsney - 2018 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 15 (3):324-344.
    In the growing literature on decision-making under moral uncertainty, a number of skeptics have argued that there is an insuperable barrier to rational "hedging" for the risk of moral error, namely the apparent incomparability of moral reasons given by rival theories like Kantianism and utilitarianism. Various general theories of intertheoretic value comparison have been proposed to meet this objection, but each suffers from apparently fatal flaws. In this paper, I propose a more modest approach that aims to identify classes (...)
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  47. Advice for the Steady: Decision Theory and the Requirements of Instrumental Rationality.Johanna Thoma - 2017 - Dissertation,
    Standard decision theory, or rational choice theory, is often interpreted to be a theory of instrumental rationality. This dissertation argues, however, that the core requirements of orthodox decision theory cannot be defended as general requirements of instrumental rationality. Instead, I argue that these requirements can only be instrumentally justified to agents who have a desire to have choice dispositions that are stable over time and across different choice contexts. Past attempts at making instrumentalist arguments (...)
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  48. Overdetermination in Intuitive Causal Decision Theory.Esteban Céspedes - 2013 - In Miguel Hoeltje, Thomas Spitzley & Wolfgang Spohn (eds.), Was dürfen wir glauben? Was sollen wir tun? Sektionsbeiträge des achten internationalen Kongresses der Gesellschaft für Analytische Philosophie e.V.
    Causal decision theory defines a rational action as the one that tends to cause the best outcomes. If we adopt counterfactual or probabilistic theories of causation, then we may face problems in overdetermination cases. Do such problems affect Causal decision theory? The aim of this work is to show that the concept of causation that has been fundamental in all versions of causal decision theory is not the most intuitive one. Since overdetermination poses problems (...)
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  49.  55
    Law-Abiding Causal Decision Theory.Timothy Luke Williamson & Alexander Sandgren - forthcoming - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science.
    In this paper we discuss how Causal Decision Theory should be modified to handle a class of problematic cases involving deterministic laws. Causal Decision Theory, as it stands, is problematically biased against your endorsing deterministic propositions (for example it tells you to deny Newtonian physics, regardless of how confident you are of its truth). Our response is that this is not a problem for Causal Decision Theory per se, but arises because of the standard (...)
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  50. What Does Decision Theory Have to Do with Wanting?Milo Phillips-Brown - forthcoming - Mind.
    Decision theory and folk psychology both purport to represent the same phenomena: our belief-like and desire- and preference-like states. They also purport to do the same work with these representations: explain and predict our actions. But they do so with different sets of concepts. There's much at stake in whether one of these two sets of concepts can be accounted for with the other. Without such an account, we'd have two competing representations and systems of prediction and explanation, (...)
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