Philosophy of Science 55 (4):560-582 (1988)

Authors
Paul Weirich
University of Missouri, Columbia
Abstract
Causal decision theory produces decision instability in cases such as Death in Damascus where a decision itself provides evidence concerning the utility of options. Several authors have proposed ways of handling this instability. William Harper (1985 and 1986) advances one of the most elegant proposals. He recommends maximizing causal expected utility among the options that are causally ratifiable. Unfortunately, Harper's proposal imposes certain restrictions; for instance, the restriction that mixed strategies are freely available. To obtain a completely general method of handling decision instability, I step outside the confines of pure causal decision theory. I introduce a new kind of backtracking expected utility and propose maximizing it among the options that are causally ratifiable. In other words, I propose a hierarchical maximization of (1) conditional causal expected utility and (2) the new backtracking expected utility. I support this proposal with some intuitive considerations concerning the distinction between optimality and conditional optimality. And I prove that the proposal yields a solution in every finite decision problem
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1086/289461
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 71,379
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Counterfactuals and Two Kinds of Expected Utility.Allan Gibbard & William L. Harper - 1978 - In A. Hooker, J. J. Leach & E. F. McClennen (eds.), Foundations and Applications of Decision Theory. D. Reidel. pp. 125-162.
Morals by Agreement.David Copp - 1986 - Philosophical Review 98 (3):411-414.
Pragmatics and Empiricism.Brian Skyrms - 1986 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 37 (4):514-516.
Causal Decision Theory.Brian Skyrms - 1982 - Journal of Philosophy 79 (11):695-711.
Counterfactuals and Newcomb’s Problem.Terence Horgan - 1981 - Journal of Philosophy 78 (6):331-356.

View all 14 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Why Take Both Boxes?Jack Spencer & Ian Wells - 2019 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 99 (1):27-48.
Rational monism and rational pluralism.Jack Spencer - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 178 (6):1769-1800.

View all 9 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Rationality Revisited.Reed Richter - 1984 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 62 (4):392 – 403.
Decisions in Dynamic Settings.Paul Weirich - 1986 - PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1986:438 - 449.
Revealed Preference and Expected Utility.Stephen A. Clark - 2000 - Theory and Decision 49 (2):159-174.
Lottery Dependent Utility: A Reexamination.Ulrich Schmidt - 2001 - Theory and Decision 50 (1):35-58.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2009-01-28

Total views
231 ( #49,307 of 2,519,682 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
3 ( #205,238 of 2,519,682 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes