The Value of Evidence and Ratificationism

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In sequential decision problems, an act of learning cost-free evidence might be symptomatic, in the sense that performing this act itself provides evidence about states of the world it does nothing to causally promote. It is well known that orthodox causal decision theory, like its main rival evidential decision theory, may sanction such acts as rationally impermissible. This paper shows that, under plausible assumptions, a minimal version of ratificationist causal decision theory, known as principled ratificationism, fares better in this respect, for it never labels symptomatic acts of learning cost-free evidence as rationally impermissible.



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