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How do you maximize expectation value?

Noûs 17 (3):409-421 (1983)

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  1. The Oxford Handbook of Philosophical Methodology.Herman Cappelen, Tamar Szabó Gendler & John Hawthorne (eds.) - 2016 - Oxford University Press.
    This is the most comprehensive book ever published on philosophical methodology. A team of thirty-eight of the world's leading philosophers present original essays on various aspects of how philosophy should be and is done. The first part is devoted to broad traditions and approaches to philosophical methodology. The entries in the second part address topics in philosophical methodology, such as intuitions, conceptual analysis, and transcendental arguments. The third part of the book is devoted to essays about the interconnections between philosophy (...)
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  • Money-Pump Arguments.Johan E. Gustafsson - forthcoming - Cambridge University Press.
    Suppose that you prefer A to B, B to C, and A to C. Your preferences violate Expected Utility Theory by being cyclic. Money-pump arguments offer a way to show that such violations are irrational. Suppose that you start with A. Then you should be willing to trade A for C and then C for B. But then, once you have C, you are offered a trade back to A for a small cost. Since you prefer A to C, you (...)
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  • Satisficing and Motivated Submaximization (in the Philosophy of Religion).Chris Tucker - 2016 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 93 (1):127-143.
    In replying to certain objections to the existence of God, Robert Adams, Bruce Langtry, and Peter van Inwagen assume that God can appropriately choose a suboptimal world, a world less good than some other world God could have chosen. A number of philosophers, such as Michael Slote and Klaas Kraay, claim that these theistic replies are therefore committed to the claim that satisficing can be appropriate. Kraay argues that this commitment is a significant liability. I argue, however, that the relevant (...)
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  • Expected Utilities and Rational Actions and Choices.Jordan Howard Sobel - 1983 - Theoria 49 (3):159-183.
  • Heavenly Freedom and Two Models of Character Perfection.Robert J. Hartman - 2021 - Faith and Philosophy 38 (1):45-64.
    Human persons can act with libertarian freedom in heaven according to one prominent view, because they have freely acquired perfect virtue in their pre-heavenly lives such that acting rightly in heaven is volitionally necessary. But since the character of human persons is not perfect at death, how is their character perfected? On the unilateral model, God alone completes the perfection of their character, and, on the cooperative model, God continues to work with them in purgatory to perfect their own character. (...)
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  • The Dominance Principle in Epistemic Decision Theory.R. A. Briggs - 2018 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 96 (3):763-775.
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  • Originless Sin: Rational Dilemmas for Satisficers.Roy Sorensen - 2006 - Philosophical Quarterly 56 (223):213 - 223.
    Suppose you have an infinite past. If you had banked the spare dollar you have always had, then the interest would have made you rich by now. Your procrastination is inexcusable. But what should you have done? At any time at which you invest the dollar you would regret not investing it earlier. Satisficers can solve prospective puzzles involving infinite choice but cannot solve this retrospective puzzle about regret. A moral version of the puzzle suggests that there can be inevitable (...)
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  • Can Every Option Be Rationally Impermissible?Chrisoula Andreou - 2021 - Erkenntnis 86 (6):1309-1317.
    Moving from simple to increasingly sophisticated candidate cases, I argue against the idea that there can be cases in which, due to no fault of the agent or to any ambiguity regarding how things will go depending on which option is selected, all the options available to an agent are rationally impermissible. Whether there are cases that fit this bill—qualifying as what I will label no-fault-or-ambiguity rational dilemmas—depends on the characteristics of conclusive reasons. My reasoning leads me to the view (...)
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  • Better Than.Chrisoula Andreou - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (6):1621-1638.
    It is commonly held that rational preferences must be acyclic. There have, however, been cases that have been put forward as counterexamples to this view. This paper focuses on the following question: If the counterexamples are compelling and rational preferences can be cyclic, what should we conclude about the presumed acyclicity of the “better than” relation? Building on some revisionary suggestions concerning acyclicity and betterness, I make a case for hanging on to the presumption that “better than” is acyclic even (...)
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  • Prospective Possibilism.Michael Zimmerman - 2017 - The Journal of Ethics 21 (2):117-150.
    There has been considerable debate regarding the relative merits of two theses about moral obligation known as actualism and possibilism. Both theses seek to give expression to the general idea that one ought to do the best one can. According to actualism, one’s obligations turn on what would happen if one chose some course of action, whereas, according to possibilism, they turn on what could happen if one chose some course of action. There are two strands to the debate: the (...)
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  • Non-Additive Degrees of Belief.Rolf Haenni - 2009 - In Franz Huber & Christoph Schmidt-Petri (eds.), Degrees of Belief. Springer. pp. 121--159.
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  • Satan, Saint Peter and Saint Petersburg: Decision Theory and Discontinuity at Infinity.Paul Bartha, John Barker & Alan Hájek - 2014 - Synthese 191 (4):629-660.
    We examine a distinctive kind of problem for decision theory, involving what we call discontinuity at infinity. Roughly, it arises when an infinite sequence of choices, each apparently sanctioned by plausible principles, converges to a ‘limit choice’ whose utility is much lower than the limit approached by the utilities of the choices in the sequence. We give examples of this phenomenon, focusing on Arntzenius et al.’s Satan’s apple, and give a general characterization of it. In these examples, repeated dominance reasoning (...)
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  • Surprising Suspensions: The Epistemic Value of Being Ignorant.Christopher Willard-Kyle - 2021 - Dissertation, Rutgers University - New Brunswick
    Knowledge is good, ignorance is bad. So it seems, anyway. But in this dissertation, I argue that some ignorance is epistemically valuable. Sometimes, we should suspend judgment even though by believing we would achieve knowledge. In this apology for ignorance (ignorance, that is, of a certain kind), I defend the following four theses: 1) Sometimes, we should continue inquiry in ignorance, even though we are in a position to know the answer, in order to achieve more than mere knowledge (e.g. (...)
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  • Embodied Vs. Non-Embodied Modes of Knowing in Aquinas.Therese Scarpelli Cory - 2018 - Faith and Philosophy 35 (4):417-446.
    What does it mean to be an embodied thinker of abstract concepts? Does embodiment shape the character and quality of our understanding of universals such as “dog” and “beauty,” and would a non-embodied mind understand such concepts differently? I examine these questions through the lens of Thomas Aquinas’s remarks on the differences between embodied intellects and non-embodied intellects. In Aquinas, I argue, the difference between embodied and non-embodied intellection of extramental realities is rooted in the fact that embodied and non-embodied (...)
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  • Unexpected Expectations.Alan Hájek - 2014 - Mind 123 (490):533-567.
    A decade ago, Harris Nover and I introduced the Pasadena game, which we argued gives rise to a new paradox in decision theory even more troubling than the St Petersburg paradox. Gwiazda's and Smith's articles in this volume both offer revisionist solutions. I critically engage with both articles. They invite reflections on a number of deep issues in the foundations of decision theory, which I hope to bring out. These issues include: some ways in which orthodox decision theory might be (...)
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  • Bayesianism, Infinite Decisions, and Binding.Frank Arntzenius, Adam Elga & John Hawthorne - 2004 - Mind 113 (450):251 - 283.
    We pose and resolve several vexing decision theoretic puzzles. Some are variants of existing puzzles, such as 'Trumped' (Arntzenius and McCarthy 1997), 'Rouble trouble' (Arntzenius and Barrett 1999), 'The airtight Dutch book' (McGee 1999), and 'The two envelopes puzzle' (Broome 1995). Others are new. A unified resolution of the puzzles shows that Dutch book arguments have no force in infinite cases. It thereby provides evidence that reasonable utility functions may be unbounded and that reasonable credence functions need not be countably (...)
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  • Can God Satisfice?Klaas J. Kraay - 2013 - American Philosophical Quarterly 50 (4):399-410.
    Three very prominent arguments for atheism are (1) the argument from sub-optimality, (2) the problem of no best world, and (3) the evidential argument from gratuitous evil. To date, it has not sufficiently been appreciated that several important criticisms of these arguments have all relied on a shared strategy. Although the details vary, the core of this strategy is to concede that God either cannot or need not achieve the best outcome in the relevant choice situation, but to insist that (...)
     
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  • Is Motivated Submaximization Good Enough for God?Klaas J. Kraay - forthcoming - Religious Studies.
    In a recent article (Kraay 2013), I argued that some prominent responses to two important arguments for atheism invoke divine satisficing – and that the coherence and propriety of this notion have not been established. Chris Tucker (2016) agrees with my evaluation of divine satisficing, but disagrees with my exegesis of these responses. He argues that they should be understood as invoking motivated submaximization instead. After reviewing the dialectical situation to date, I assess whether motivated submaximization can be deployed in (...)
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  • New Foundations for Practical Reasoning.John L. Pollock - 1992 - Minds and Machines 2 (2):113-144.
    Practical reasoning aims at deciding what actions to perform in light of the goals a rational agent possesses. This has been a topic of interest in both philosophy and artificial intelligence, but these two disciplines have produced very different models of practical reasoning. The purpose of this paper is to examine each model in light of the other and produce a unified model adequate for the purposes of both disciplines and superior to the standard models employed by either.The philosophical (decision-theoretic) (...)
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  • Arguments For—Or Against—Probabilism?Alan Hájek - 2009 - In Franz Huber & Christoph Schmidt-Petri (eds.), British Journal for the Philosophy of Science. Springer. pp. 229--251.
    Four important arguments for probabilism—the Dutch Book, representation theorem, calibration, and gradational accuracy arguments—have a strikingly similar structure. Each begins with a mathematical theorem, a conditional with an existentially quantified consequent, of the general form: if your credences are not probabilities, then there is a way in which your rationality is impugned. Each argument concludes that rationality requires your credences to be probabilities. I contend that each argument is invalid as formulated. In each case there is a mirror-image theorem and (...)
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  • Decision Instability.Paul Weirich - 1985 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 63 (4):465 – 472.
    In some decision problems adoption of an option furnishes evidence about the option's consequences. Rational decisions take account of that evidence, although it makes an option's adoption changes the option's expected utility.
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  • Transfinitely Transitive Value.Kacper Kowalczyk - 2021 - Philosophical Quarterly 72 (1):108-134.
    This paper develops transfinite extensions of transitivity and acyclicity in the context of population ethics. They are used to argue that it is better to add good lives, worse to add bad lives, and equally good to add neutral lives, where a life's value is understood as personal value. These conclusions rule out a number of theories of population ethics, feed into an argument for the repugnant conclusion, and allow us to reduce different-number comparisons to same-number ones. Challenges to these (...)
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  • Slote on Rational Dilemmas and Rational Supererogation.Joe Mintoff - 1997 - Erkenntnis 46 (1):111-126.
    The so-called optimising conception of rationality includes (amongst other things) the following two claims: (i) that it is irrational to choose an option if you know there is a better one, and (ii) there are no situations in which an agent, through no practical fault of her own, cannot avoid acting irrationally. As part of his ongoing attempt to explain why we need to go beyond the optimising conception, Michael Slote discusses a number of examples in which it seems that (...)
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  • Arguments for–or Against–Probabilism&Quest;: Articles.Alan Hájek - 2008 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 59 (4):793-819.
    Four important arguments for probabilism—the Dutch Book, representation theorem, calibration, and gradational accuracy arguments—have a strikingly similar structure. Each begins with a mathematical theorem, a conditional with an existentially quantified consequent, of the general form: if your credences are not probabilities, then there is a way in which your rationality is impugned. Each argument concludes that rationality requires your credences to be probabilities. I contend that each argument is invalid as formulated. In each case there is a mirror-image theorem and (...)
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  • How to Think About Satisficing.Chris Tucker - 2017 - Philosophical Studies 174 (6):1365-1384.
    An agent submaximizes with motivation when she aims at the best but chooses a less good option because of a countervailing consideration. An agent satisfices when she rejects the better for the good enough, and does so because the mere good enough gets her what she really wants. Motivated submaximization and satisficing, so construed, are different ways of choosing a suboptimal option, but this difference is easily missed. Putative proponents of satisficing tend to argue only that motivated submaximization can be (...)
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  • What is Ceteris Paribus Preference?Sven Ove Hansson - 1996 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 25 (3):307 - 332.
    A general format is introduced for deriving preferences over states of affairs from preferences over a set of contextually complete alternatives. Formal results are given both for this general format and for a specific instance of it that is a plausible explication of ceteris paribus preference.
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  • Peter van Inwagen on Gratuitous Evil.Klaas J. Kraay - 2014 - Religious Studies 50 (2):217-234.
    Defenders and critics of the evidential argument from evil typically agree that if theism is true, no gratuitous evil occurs. But Peter van Inwagen has challenged this orthodoxy by urging that for all we know, given God's goals, it is impossible for God to prevent all gratuitous evil, in which case God is not required do so. If van Inwagen is right, the evidential argument from evil fails. After setting out this striking and innovative move, I examine three responses found (...)
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  • Utility Maximization Generalized.Paul Weirich - 2008 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 5 (2):282-299.
    Theories of rationality advance principles that differ in topic, scope, and assumptions. A typical version of the principle of utility maximization formulates a standard rather than a procedure for decisions, evaluates decisions comprehensively, and relies on idealizations. I generalize the principle by removing some idealizations and making adjustments for their absence. The generalizations accommodate agents who have incomplete probability and utility assignments and are imperfectly rational. They also accommodate decision problems with unstable comparisons of options.
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  • The Ruin of Homo Oeconomicus.Jan-Willem Van der Rijt - unknown
    In this paper it is shown that the most rational of all creatures, Homo Oeconomicus, can be enticed to freely engage in an activity that is guaranteed to lead to his ruin. It is furthermore shown that this is possible if and only if utility functions are unbounded. The paper thus develops an argument in favour of bounded utility functions.
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