Chapter

Optimizing and Its Offspring

Paul Weirich

in Realistic Decision Theory

Published in print August 2004 | ISBN: 9780195171259
Published online November 2004 | e-ISBN: 9780199834976 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/019517125X.003.0002
 Optimizing and Its Offspring

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Decision principles aim at optimization, or realization of an act better than alternative acts. Given uncertainty, an agent’s subjective utility assignment to options assesses an option’s prospects in light of the agent’s information. The pertinent decision goal becomes maximization of utility. An option’s utility depends on the probabilities and utilities of its possible outcomes and so is an expected utility. The step from optimization to utility maximization illustrates a decision principle’s adjustment after removing the idealization of full information.

Keywords: act; agent; expected utility; maximization of utility; optimization; probability; uncertainty; utility

Chapter.  8439 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Philosophy of Mathematics and Logic

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