The Second Challenge: Individuating Outcomes

José Luis Bermúdez

in Decision Theory and Rationality

Published in print February 2009 | ISBN: 9780199548026
Published online May 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780191720246 | DOI:
 The Second Challenge: Individuating Outcomes

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Standard presentations of decision theory adopt some version of the invariance principle (that it is irrational to assign different utilities to propositions known to be equivalent). This normative principle raises problems for the idea that decision theory can serve as a theory of motivation. Frederic Schick has responded to this tension by proposing an intensional version of decision theory that allows a single outcome to be understood in different ways (and utilities to be assigned accordingly). This raises problems (such as the failure of the expected utility theorem) that can be dealt with by a more fine-grained way of individuating outcomes (as in Broome's theory of individuation by justifiers). Again, though, none of these strategies serves all three of the explanatory projects under consideration.

Keywords: invariance principle; intensionality; framing effects; substitution axiom; sure-thing principle; Allais paradox; Frederic Schick; Broome

Chapter.  14570 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Mind

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