The Problem of Reindividuation and Money-Pump Arguments: Analysis of Mamou’s Solution

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Abstract

In this article, I examine the consequences of Mamou’s recent solution to the so-called problem of reindividuation. The problem is first proposed by John Broome as an argument against the Humean view of rationality and subjective decision theory. Essentially, Broome argues that the reindividuation of outcomes must be constrained in some way if the axioms of rationality are not to be vacuous, but the constraints on individuation cannot be consistent with the Humean view of rationality. Mamou offers an elegant Humean solution to this problem. We do not need such rules for reindividuation since the subjective decision theory operates under the assumption of maximal relevance of description, and only under that assumption do the axioms tell anything. Thus the problem of reindividuation dissolves in a quite natural and simple way. However, I argue that if we connect this solution to the topic of justification for the requirements of rationality, problems arise. I examine the influence of the solution on the common argument for the axioms of decision theory, the so-called money-pump arguments. These arguments are a staple in the justification of the axioms of subjective decision theory. I argue that they are in collision with Mamou’s solution. This collision brings us to the dilemma: either accept Broome’s conclusions or lose the money-pump arguments as an effective tool for justification of the axioms. I conclude that neither of the options is really good for the defenders of the Humean view of rationality.

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Nenad Filipovic
University of Belgrade

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References found in this work

The Foundations of Statistics.Leonard J. Savage - 1954 - Synthese 11 (1):86-89.
The Foundations of Causal Decision Theory.Isaac Levi & James M. Joyce - 2000 - Journal of Philosophy 97 (7):387.
Internal consistency of choice.Amartya Sen - 1993 - Econometrica 61:495–521.

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