Representation theorems and realism about degrees of belief

Philosophy of Science 67 (1):45-69 (2000)
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The representation theorems of expected utility theory show that having certain types of preferences is both necessary and sufficient for being representable as having subjective probabilities. However, unless the expected utility framework is simply assumed, such preferences are also consistent with being representable as having degrees of belief that do not obey the laws of probability. This fact shows that being representable as having subjective probabilities is not necessarily the same as having subjective probabilities. Probabilism can be defended on the basis of the representation theorems only if attributions of degrees of belief are understood either antirealistically or purely qualitatively, or if the representation theorems are supplemented by arguments based on other considerations (simplicity, consilience, and so on) that single out the representation of a person as having subjective probabilities as the only true representation of the mental state of any person whose preferences conform to the axioms of expected utility theory



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Lyle Zynda
Indiana University South Bend

Citations of this work

What are degrees of belief.Lina Eriksson & Alan Hájek - 2007 - Studia Logica 86 (2):185-215.
Interpretations of probability.Alan Hájek - 2007 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Imprecise Probabilities.Seamus Bradley - 2019 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

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