Philosophical Studies 177 (2):483-504 (2020)

Stefan Riedener
University of Zürich
How ought you to evaluate your options if you’re uncertain about which axiology is true? One prominent response is Expected Moral Value Maximisation, the view that under axiological uncertainty, an option is better than another if and only if it has the greater expected moral value across axiologies. EMVM raises two fundamental questions. First, there’s a question about what it should even mean. In particular, it presupposes that we can compare moral value across axiologies. So to even understand EMVM, we need to explain what it is for such comparisons to hold. Second, assuming that we understand it, there’s a question about whether EMVM is true. Since there are many plausible rivals, we need an argument to defend it. In this paper, I’ll introduce a representation theorem for axiological uncertainty to answer these two questions. Roughly, the theorem shows that if all our axiologies satisfy the von Neumann–Morgenstern axioms, and if the facts about which options are better than which in light of your uncertainty also satisfy these axioms as well as a Pareto condition, then these facts have a relevantly unique expected utility representation. If I’m right, this theorem at once affords us a compelling way to understand EMVM—and specifically intertheoretic comparisons—and a systematic argument for its truth.
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DOI 10.1007/s11098-018-1191-7
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References found in this work BETA

Theory of Games and Economic Behavior.John Von Neumann & Oskar Morgenstern - 1944 - Princeton, NJ, USA: Princeton University Press.
A Subjectivist’s Guide to Objective Chance.David K. Lewis - 1980 - In Richard C. Jeffrey (ed.), Studies in Inductive Logic and Probability, Volume II. Berkeley: University of California Press. pp. 263-293.

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Citations of this work BETA

Decision Under Normative Uncertainty.Franz Dietrich & Brian Jabarian - forthcoming - Economics and Philosophy.
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Uncertain Preferences in Rational Decision.Moritz Schulz - 2020 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 63 (6):605-627.

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