Know Your Way Out of St. Petersburg: An Exploration of "Knowledge-First" Decision Theory

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Abstract

This paper explores the consequences of applying two natural ideas from epistemology to decision theory: (1) that knowledge should guide our actions, and (2) that we know a lot of non-trivial things. In particular, we explore the consequences of these ideas as they are applied to standard decision theoretic puzzles such as the St. Petersburg Paradox. In doing so, we develop a “knowledge-first” decision theory and we will see how it can help us avoid fanaticism with regard to the St. Petersburg puzzle and related puzzles. The result will be a decision theory that gives a novel, but well-motivated, reason for discounting small probabilities when making decisions. We examine the merits and demerits of such a decision theory.

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Author's Profile

Frank Hong
University of Hong Kong

Citations of this work

Unbounded Utility.Zachary Goodsell - 2023 - Dissertation, University of Southern California

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References found in this work

Elusive knowledge.David Lewis - 1996 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 74 (4):549 – 567.
Knowledge and its Limits.Timothy Williamson - 2000 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 64 (1):200-201.
Knowledge and Action.John Hawthorne & Jason Stanley - 2008 - Journal of Philosophy 105 (10):571-590.
Epistemic operators.Fred I. Dretske - 1970 - Journal of Philosophy 67 (24):1007-1023.
Knowledge and Lotteries.John Hawthorne - 2005 - Philosophical Quarterly 55 (219):353-356.

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