Realism about Agents: Cognitive Limitations

Paul Weirich

in Realistic Decision Theory

Published in print August 2004 | ISBN: 9780195171259
Published online November 2004 | e-ISBN: 9780199834976 | DOI:
 Realism about Agents: Cognitive Limitations

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People, havingcognitive limits, often lack relevant a priori knowledge and knowledge of their own psychological states–for example, knowledge of their own probability and utility assignments. The costs of a decision procedure that takes steps to acquire such knowledgemust be justified by its benefits. When information about probabilities and utilities remains incomplete despite reasonable reflection, assessments of an option’s utility may substitute estimates. The results are higher-order utility analyses and ersatzutility analyses. Principles of procedural rationality also supplement principles of substantive rationality.

Keywords: acquisition of knowledge; cognitive limits; decision costs; ersatz utility analysis; higher-order utility analysis; procedural rationality; substantive rationality

Chapter.  8998 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Philosophy of Mathematics and Logic

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