Theory and Decision 51 (2/4):89-124 (2001)

Abstract
De Finetti's treatise on the theory of probability begins with the provocative statement PROBABILITY DOES NOT EXIST, meaning that probability does not exist in an objective sense. Rather, probability exists only subjectively within the minds of individuals. De Finetti defined subjective probabilities in terms of the rates at which individuals are willing to bet money on events, even though, in principle, such betting rates could depend on state-dependent marginal utility for money as well as on beliefs. Most later authors, from Savage onward, have attempted to disentangle beliefs from values by introducing hypothetical bets whose payoffs are abstract consequences that are assumed to have state-independent utility. In this paper, I argue that de Finetti was right all along: PROBABILITY, considered as a numerical measure of pure belief uncontaminated by attitudes toward money, does not exist. Rather, what exist are de Finetti's `previsions', or betting rates for money, otherwise known in the literature as `risk neutral probabilities'. But the fact that previsions are not measures of pure belief turns out not to be problematic for statistical inference, decision analysis, or economic modeling
Keywords Probability  Beliefs  Values  Statistical inference  Decision theory
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DOI 10.1023/A:1015525808214
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References found in this work BETA

Truth and Probability.Frank Ramsey - 1926 - In Antony Eagle (ed.), Philosophy of Probability: Contemporary Readings. Routledge. pp. 52-94.
The Foundations of Statistics.Leonard J. Savage - 1956 - Philosophy of Science 23 (2):166-166.
La Prévision: Ses Lois Logiques, Ses Sources Subjectives.Bruno de Finetti - 1937 - Annales de l'Institut Henri Poincaré 17:1-68.
Slightly More Realistic Personal Probability.Ian Hacking - 1967 - Philosophy of Science 34 (4):311-325.

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Citations of this work BETA

Do Bets Reveal Beliefs?Jean Baccelli - 2017 - Synthese 194 (9):3393-3419.
The Problem of State-Dependent Utility: A Reappraisal.Jean Baccelli - 2021 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 72 (2):617-634.
Expected Utility in 3D.Jean Baccelli - forthcoming - In Reflections on the Foundations of Statistics: Essays in Honor of Teddy Seidenfeld.

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Probability and the Logic of de Finetti's Trievents.Alberto Mura - 2009 - In Maria Carla Galavotti (ed.), Bruno de Finetti Radical Probabilist. College Publications. pp. 201--242.

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