Results for 'utility'

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  1. Epistemic Utility Theory and the Aim of Belief.Jennifer Rose Carr - 2017 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 95 (3):511-534.
    How should rational believers pursue the aim of truth? Epistemic utility theorists have argued that by combining the tools of decision theory with an epistemic form of value—gradational accuracy, proximity to the truth—we can justify various epistemological norms. I argue that deriving these results requires using decision rules that are different in important respects from those used in standard (practical) decision theory. If we use the more familiar decision rules, we can’t justify the epistemic coherence norms that epistemic (...) theory had hoped to justify. In short, those of us who are attracted to the project of epistemic utility theory face a dilemma. If we choose “consequentialist” rules, then we can vindicate the idea that rational belief has the aim of accuracy—but at the cost of giving up attractive epistemic norms. (shrink)
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  2. Utils and Shmutils.Jacob M. Nebel - 2021 - Ethics 131 (3):571-599.
    Matthew Adler's Measuring Social Welfare is an introduction to the social welfare function (SWF) methodology. This essay questions some ideas at the core of the SWF methodology having to do with the relation between the SWF and the measure of well-being. The facts about individual well-being do not single out a particular scale on which well-being must be measured. As with physical quantities, there are multiple scales that can be used to represent the same information about well-being; no one scale (...)
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  3.  66
    (F)Utility Exposed.Roberto Fumagalli - 2019 - Philosophy of Science 86 (5):955-966.
    In recent years, several authors have called to ground descriptive and normative decision theory on neuro-psychological measures of utility. In this paper, I combine insights from the best available neuro-psychological findings, leading philosophical conceptions of welfare and contemporary decision theory to rebut these prominent calls. I argue for two claims of general interest to philosophers, choice modellers and policy makers. First, severe conceptual, epistemic and evidential problems plague ongoing attempts to develop accurate and reliable neuro-psychological measures of utility. (...)
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  4. Principled Utility Discounting Under Risk.Kian Mintz-Woo - 2019 - Moral Philosophy and Politics 6 (1):89-112.
    Utility discounting in intertemporal economic modelling has been viewed as problematic, both for descriptive and normative reasons. However, positive utility discount rates can be defended normatively; in particular, it is rational for future utility to be discounted to take into account model-independent outcomes when decision-making under risk. The resultant values will tend to be smaller than descriptive rates under most probability assignments. This also allows us to address some objections that intertemporal considerations will be overdemanding. A principle (...)
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  5.  79
    Utility Maximization and Bounds on Human Information Processing.Andrew Howes, Richard L. Lewis & Satinder Singh - 2014 - Topics in Cognitive Science 6 (2):198-203.
    Utility maximization is a key element of a number of theoretical approaches to explaining human behavior. Among these approaches are rational analysis, ideal observer theory, and signal detection theory. While some examples of these approaches define the utility maximization problem with little reference to the bounds imposed by the organism, others start with, and emphasize approaches in which bounds imposed by the information processing architecture are considered as an explicit part of the utility maximization problem. These latter (...)
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  6. "Utility".John Broome - 1991 - Economics and Philosophy 7 (1):1-12.
    Utility,” in plain English, means usefulness. In Australia, a ute is a useful vehicle. Jeremy Bentham specialized the meaning to a particular sort of usefulness. “By utility,” he said, “is meant that property in any object, whereby it tends to produce benefit, advantage, pleasure, good, or happiness or to prevent the happening of mischief, pain, evil, or unhappiness to the party whose interest is considered”. The “principle of utility” is the principle that actions are to be judged (...)
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  7. Epistemic Utility and Norms for Credences.Richard Pettigrew - 2013 - Philosophy Compass 8 (10):897-908.
    Beliefs come in different strengths. An agent's credence in a proposition is a measure of the strength of her belief in that proposition. Various norms for credences have been proposed. Traditionally, philosophers have tried to argue for these norms by showing that any agent who violates them will be lead by her credences to make bad decisions. In this article, we survey a new strategy for justifying these norms. The strategy begins by identifying an epistemic utility function and a (...)
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  8.  29
    Utility Theory and Additivity Analysis of Risky Choices.Amos Tversky - 1967 - Journal of Experimental Psychology 75 (1):27.
  9. Actual Utility, The Objection From Impracticality, and the Move to Expected Utility.Fred Feldman - 2006 - Philosophical Studies 129 (1):49-79.
    Utilitarians are attracted to the idea that an act is morally right iff it leads to the best outcome. But critics have pointed out that in many cases we cannot determine which of our alternatives in fact would lead to the best outcome. So we can’t use the classic principle to determine what we should do. It’s not “practical”; it’s not “action-guiding”. Some take this to be a serious objection to utilitarianism, since they think a moral theory ought to be (...)
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  10. Epistemic Utility and the Normativity of Logic.Richard Pettigrew - 2017 - Logos and Episteme 8 (4):455-492.
    How does logic relate to rational belief? Is logic normative for belief, as some say? What, if anything, do facts about logical consequence tell us about norms of doxastic rationality? In this paper, we consider a range of putative logic-rationality bridge principles. These purport to relate facts about logical consequence to norms that govern the rationality of our beliefs and credences. To investigate these principles, we deploy a novel approach, namely, epistemic utility theory. That is, we assume that doxastic (...)
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  11. Conditional Utility and its Place in Decision Theory.Paul Weirich - 1980 - Journal of Philosophy 77 (11):702-715.
    Causal decision theory attends to probabilities used to obtain an option's expected utility but for completeness should also attend to utilities of possible outcomes. A suitable formula for an option's expected utility uses a certain type of conditional utility.
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  12. A Utility Based Evaluation of Logico-Probabilistic Systems.Paul D. Thorn & Gerhard Schurz - 2014 - Studia Logica 102 (4):867-890.
    Systems of logico-probabilistic (LP) reasoning characterize inference from conditional assertions interpreted as expressing high conditional probabilities. In the present article, we investigate four prominent LP systems (namely, systems O, P, Z, and QC) by means of computer simulations. The results reported here extend our previous work in this area, and evaluate the four systems in terms of the expected utility of the dispositions to act that derive from the conclusions that the systems license. In addition to conforming to the (...)
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  13. Expected utility theory, Jeffrey’s decision theory, and the paradoxes.Philippe Mongin & Jean Baccelli - 2020 - Synthese 199 (1):695-713.
    In Richard Bradley’s book, Decision Theory with a Human Face, we have selected two themes for discussion. The first is the Bolker-Jeffrey theory of decision, which the book uses throughout as a tool to reorganize the whole field of decision theory, and in particular to evaluate the extent to which expected utility theories may be normatively too demanding. The second theme is the redefinition strategy that can be used to defend EU theories against the Allais and Ellsberg paradoxes, a (...)
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  14. Consequentialist Foundations for Expected Utility.Peter J. Hammond - 1988 - Theory and Decision 25 (1):25-78.
    Behaviour norms are considered for decision trees which allow both objective probabilities and uncertain states of the world with unknown probabilities. Terminal nodes have consequences in a given domain. Behaviour is required to be consistent in subtrees. Consequentialist behaviour, by definition, reveals a consequence choice function independent of the structure of the decision tree. It implies that behaviour reveals a revealed preference ordering satisfying both the independence axiom and a novel form of sure-thing principle. Continuous consequentialist behaviour must be expected (...)
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  15. Utility Monsters for the Fission Age.Ray Briggs & Daniel Nolan - 2015 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 96 (2):392-407.
    One of the standard approaches to the metaphysics of personal identity has some counter-intuitive ethical consequences when combined with maximising consequentialism and a plausible doctrine about aggregation of consequences. This metaphysical doctrine is the so-called ‘multiple occupancy’ approach to puzzles about fission and fusion. It gives rise to a new version of the ‘utility monster’ problem, particularly difficult problems about infinite utility, and a new version of a Parfit-style ‘repugnant conclusion’. While the article focuses on maximising consequentialism for (...)
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  16. Utility and the Survival Lottery.Peter Singer - 1977 - Philosophy 52 (200):218 - 222.
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  17.  66
    Utility, Informativity and Protocols.Robert van Rooy - 2004 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 33 (4):389-419.
    Recently, natural language pragmatics started to make use of decision-, game-, and information theoretical tools to determine the usefulness of questions and assertions in a quantitative way. In the first part of this paper several of these notions are related with each other. It is shown that under particular natural assumptions the utility of questions and answers reduces to their informativity, and that the ordering relation induced by utility sometimes even reduces to the logical relation of entailment. The (...)
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  18.  85
    Disagreement and Epistemic Utility-Based Compromise.Julia Staffel - 2015 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 44 (3):273-286.
    Epistemic utility theory seeks to establish epistemic norms by combining principles from decision theory and social choice theory with ways of determining the epistemic utility of agents’ attitudes. Recently, Moss, 1053–69, 2011) has applied this strategy to the problem of finding epistemic compromises between disagreeing agents. She shows that the norm “form compromises by maximizing average expected epistemic utility”, when applied to agents who share the same proper epistemic utility function, yields the result that agents must (...)
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  19.  58
    The Utility of Naturalness, and How its Application to Quantum Electrodynamics Envisages the Standard Model and Higgs Boson.James D. Wells - 2015 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 49:102-108.
  20. Infinite Utility.James Cain - 1995 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 73 (3):401 – 404.
    Suppose we wish to decide which of a pair of actions has better consequences in a case in which both actions result in infinite utility. Peter Vallentyne and others have proposed that one action has better consequences than a second if there is a time after which the cumulative utility of the first action always outstrips the cumulative utility of the second. I argue against this principle, in particular I show how cases may arise in which up (...)
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  21.  21
    Expected Utility in 3D.Jean Baccelli - forthcoming - In Reflections on the Foundations of Statistics: Essays in Honor of Teddy Seidenfeld.
    Consider a subjective expected utility preference relation. It is usually held that the representations which this relation admits differ only in one respect, namely, the possible scales for the measurement of utility. In this paper, I discuss the fact that there are, metaphorically speaking, two additional dimensions along which infinitely many more admissible representations can be found. The first additional dimension is that of state-dependence. The second—and, in this context, much lesser-known—additional dimension is that of act-dependence. The simplest (...)
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  22. Utility Theory and Ethics.Mongin Philippe & D'Aspremont Claude - 1998 - In Salvador Barbera, Paul Hammond & Christian Seidl (eds.), Handbook of Utility Theory Volume1: Principles. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers. pp. 371-481.
    This chapter of the Handbook of Utility Theory aims at covering the connections between utility theory and social ethics. The chapter first discusses the philosophical interpretations of utility functions, then explains how social choice theory uses them to represent interpersonal comparisons of welfare in either utilitarian or non-utilitarian representations of social preferences. The chapter also contains an extensive account of John Harsanyi's formal reconstruction of utilitarianism and its developments in the later literature, especially when society faces uncertainty (...)
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  23.  23
    Utility Tempered with Equality.Paul Weirich - 1983 - Noûs 17 (3):423-439.
  24. Epistemic Utility Theory’s Difficult Future.Chad Marxen - 2021 - Synthese 199 (3-4):7401-7421.
    According to epistemic utility theory, epistemic rationality is teleological: epistemic norms are instrumental norms that have the aim of acquiring accuracy. What’s definitive of these norms is that they can be expected to lead to the acquisition of accuracy when followed. While there’s much to be said in favor of this approach, it turns out that it faces a couple of worrisome extensional problems involving the future. The first problem involves credences about the future, and the second problem involves (...)
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  25.  71
    Utility and Framing.Paul Weirich - 2010 - Synthese 176 (1):83 - 103.
    Standard principles of rational decision assume that an option's utility is both comprehensive and accessible. These features constrain interpretations of an option's utility. This essay presents a way of understanding utility and laws of utility. It explains the relation between an option's utility and its outcome's utility and argues that an option's utility is relative to a specification of the option. Utility's relativity explains how a decision problem's framing affects an option's (...) and its rationality even for an agent who is cognitively perfect and lacks only empirical information. The essay rewrites standard laws of utility to accommodate relativization to propositions' specifications. The new laws are generalizations of the standard laws and yield them as special cases. (shrink)
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  26. On the Expected Utility Objection to the Dutch Book Argument for Probabilism.Richard Pettigrew - 2021 - Noûs (1):23-38.
    The Dutch Book Argument for Probabilism assumes Ramsey's Thesis (RT), which purports to determine the prices an agent is rationally required to pay for a bet. Recently, a new objection to Ramsey's Thesis has emerged (Hedden 2013, Wronski & Godziszewski 2017, Wronski 2018)--I call this the Expected Utility Objection. According to this objection, it is Maximise Subjective Expected Utility (MSEU) that determines the prices an agent is required to pay for a bet, and this often disagrees with Ramsey's (...)
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  27.  72
    Epistemic Utility Arguments for Probabilism.Richard Pettigrew - 2011 - Stanford Encyclopedia.
  28.  48
    Utility Cascades.Max Khan Hayward - 2020 - Analysis 80 (3):433-442.
    Utility cascades occur when a utilitarian’s reduction of support for an intervention reduces the effectiveness of that intervention, leading the utilitarian to further reduce support, thereby further undermining effectiveness, and so on, in a negative spiral. This paper illustrates the mechanisms by which utility cascades occur, and then draws out the theoretical and practical implications. Theoretically, utility cascades provide an argument that the utilitarian agent should sometimes either ignore evidence about effectiveness or fail to apportion support to (...)
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  29.  83
    Expected Utility and Risk.Paul Weirich - 1986 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 37 (4):419-442.
    The rule to maximize expected utility is intended for decisions where options involve risk. In those decisions the decision maker's attitude toward risk is important, and the rule ought to take it into account. Allais's and Ellsberg's paradoxes, however, suggest that the rule ignores attitudes toward risk. This suggestion is supported by recent psychological studies of decisions. These studies present a great variety of cases where apparently rational people violate the rule because of aversion or attraction to risk. Here (...)
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  30. Risk, Rationality and Expected Utility Theory.Richard Pettigrew - 2015 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 45 (5-6):798-826.
    There are decision problems where the preferences that seem rational to many people cannot be accommodated within orthodox decision theory in the natural way. In response, a number of alternatives to the orthodoxy have been proposed. In this paper, I offer an argument against those alternatives and in favour of the orthodoxy. I focus on preferences that seem to encode sensitivity to risk. And I focus on the alternative to the orthodoxy proposed by Lara Buchak’s risk-weighted expected utility theory. (...)
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  31. Adjusting Utility for Justice: A Consequentialist Reply to the Objection From Justice.Fred Feldman - 1995 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 55 (3):567-585.
    1. Introduction. In a famous passage near the beginning of A Theory of Justice, John Rawls discusses utilitarianism’s notorious difficulties with justice. According to classic forms of utilitarianism, a certain course of action is morally right if it produces the greatest sum of satisfactions. And, as Rawls points out, the perplexing implication is “…that it does not matter, except indirectly, how this sum of satisfactions is distributed among individuals any more than it matters, except indirectly, how one man distributes his (...)
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  32. Negative Utility Monsters.Richard Yetter Chappell - 2021 - Utilitas 33 (4):417 - 421.
    Many consider Nozick’s “utility monster”—a being more efficient than ordinary people at converting resources into wellbeing, with no upper limit—to constitute a damning counterexample to utilitarianism. But our intuitions may be reversed by considering a variation in which the utility monster starts from a baseline status of massive suffering. This suggests a rethinking of the force of the original objection.
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    Plural Utility.Amartya Sen - 1981 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 81:193 - 215.
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  34.  64
    The Utility of Pleasure is a Pain for Decision Theory.Anna Kusser & Wolfgang Spohn - 1992 - Journal of Philosophy 89 (1):10-29.
    We shall defend two theses: (a) if a decision situation exhibits a certain causal structure, then decision theory is in trouble, because the derivation of expected utilities fails; (b) this causal structure in fact obtains in a specific, but very common kind of situation, namely, when the intrinsically evaluated psychological states are in the domain of the utility function. It will be apparent that the problem is but a variant of Joseph Butler's criticism of hedonism. Thus, in a sense, (...)
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  35.  14
    The Utility of Cognitive Plausibility in Language Acquisition Modeling: Evidence From Word Segmentation.Lawrence Phillips & Lisa Pearl - 2015 - Cognitive Science 39 (8):1824-1854.
    The informativity of a computational model of language acquisition is directly related to how closely it approximates the actual acquisition task, sometimes referred to as the model's cognitive plausibility. We suggest that though every computational model necessarily idealizes the modeled task, an informative language acquisition model can aim to be cognitively plausible in multiple ways. We discuss these cognitive plausibility checkpoints generally and then apply them to a case study in word segmentation, investigating a promising Bayesian segmentation strategy. We incorporate (...)
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  36.  62
    Adjusting Utility for Justice: A Consequentialist Reply to the Objection From Justice.Fred Feldman - 1995 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 55 (3):567-585.
    1. Introduction. In a famous passage near the beginning of A Theory of Justice, John Rawls discusses utilitarianism’s notorious difficulties with justice. According to classic forms of utilitarianism, a certain course of action is morally right if it produces the greatest sum of satisfactions. And, as Rawls points out, the perplexing implication is “…that it does not matter, except indirectly, how this sum of satisfactions is distributed among individuals any more than it matters, except indirectly, how one man distributes his (...)
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  37. Expected Utility, Contributory Causation, and Vegetarianism.Gaverick Matheny - 2002 - Journal of Applied Philosophy 19 (3):293–297.
  38.  3
    The utility of a bioethics doctorate: results of a survey of graduates and students having completed All-but-Dissertation Requirements (ABD) from US bioethics doctoral programs.Daniel J. Hurst, Jordan Potter, Ariel Clatty & Joris Gielen - 2022 - International Journal of Ethics Education 7 (1):21-34.
    In the United States, the field of bioethics has expanded over the last two decades. Several institutions offer graduate-level training at both the masters and doctoral level. However, a lack of published literature on the outcomes of doctoral training in bioethics from the perspective of graduates exists. Researchers conducted an online survey of doctoral students who had finished all doctoral requirements but their dissertation, as well as doctoral graduates, of four US-based institutions to ascertain their perspectives on a number of (...)
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  39.  55
    Utility Maximization Generalized.Paul Weirich - 2008 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 5 (2):282-299.
    Theories of rationality advance principles that differ in topic, scope, and assumptions. A typical version of the principle of utility maximization formulates a standard rather than a procedure for decisions, evaluates decisions comprehensively, and relies on idealizations. I generalize the principle by removing some idealizations and making adjustments for their absence. The generalizations accommodate agents who have incomplete probability and utility assignments and are imperfectly rational. They also accommodate decision problems with unstable comparisons of options.
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  40.  10
    Utility and Deontic Reasoning: Some Comments on Johnson-Laird and Byrne.K. I. Manktelow & D. E. Over - 1992 - Cognition 43 (2):183-188.
  41. Must Rational Intentions Maximize Utility?Ralph Wedgwood - 2017 - Philosophical Explorations 20 (sup2):73-92.
    Suppose that it is rational to choose or intend a course of action if and only if the course of action maximizes some sort of expectation of some sort of value. What sort of value should this definition appeal to? According to an influential neo-Humean view, the answer is “Utility”, where utility is defined as a measure of subjective preference. According to a rival neo-Aristotelian view, the answer is “Choiceworthiness”, where choiceworthiness is an irreducibly normative notion of a (...)
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  42.  98
    Expected Utility Theory Under Non-Classical Uncertainty.V. I. Danilov & A. Lambert-Mogiliansky - 2010 - Theory and Decision 68 (1-2):25-47.
    In this article, Savage’s theory of decision-making under uncertainty is extended from a classical environment into a non-classical one. The Boolean lattice of events is replaced by an arbitrary ortho-complemented poset. We formulate the corresponding axioms and provide representation theorems for qualitative measures and expected utility. Then, we discuss the issue of beliefs updating and investigate a transition probability model. An application to a simple game context is proposed.
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  43. Expected Utility Without Utility.E. Castagnoli & M. Li Calzi - 1996 - Theory and Decision 41 (3):281-301.
  44.  50
    Stronger Utility.Pavlo R. Blavatskyy - 2014 - Theory and Decision 76 (2):265-286.
    Empirical research often requires a method how to convert a deterministic economic theory into an econometric model. A popular method is to add a random error term on the utility scale. This method, however, ignores stochastic dominance. A modification of this method is proposed to account for stochastic dominance. The modified model compares favorably to other existing models in terms of goodness of fit to experimental data. The modified model can rationalize the preference reversal phenomenon. An intuitive axiomatic characterization (...)
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  45. Utility, Publicity, and Manipulation.Adrian M. S. Piper - 1978 - Ethics 88 (3):189-206.
    In our dealings with young children, we often get them to do or think things by arranging their environments in certain ways; by dissembling, simplifying, or ambiguating the facts in answer to their queries; by carefully selecting the states of affairs, behavior of others, and utterances to which they shall be privy. We rightly justify these practices by pointing out a child's malleability, and the necessity of paying close attention to formative influences during its years of growth. This filtering of (...)
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  46. A New Epistemic Utility Argument for the Principal Principle.Richard G. Pettigrew - 2013 - Episteme 10 (1):19-35.
    Jim Joyce has presented an argument for Probabilism based on considerations of epistemic utility [Joyce, 1998]. In a recent paper, I adapted this argument to give an argument for Probablism and the Principal Principle based on similar considerations [Pettigrew, 2012]. Joyce’s argument assumes that a credence in a true proposition is better the closer it is to maximal credence, whilst a credence in a false proposition is better the closer it is to minimal credence. By contrast, my argument in (...)
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  47.  51
    Utility Theory: Axioms Versus 'Paradoxes'.Kenneth R. MacCrimmon & Stig Larsson - 1979 - In Maurice Allais & Ole Hagen (eds.), Expected Utility Hypotheses and the Allais Paradox. D. Reidel. pp. 333--409.
  48.  57
    Infinite Utility: Anonymity and Person-Centredness.Peter Vallentyne - 1995 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 73 (3):413 – 420.
    In 1991 Mark Nelson argued that if time is infinitely long towards the future, then under certain easily met conditions traditional utilitarianism is unable to discriminate among actions. For under these conditions, each action produces the same infinite amount of utility, and thus it seems that utilitarianism must judge all actions permissible, judge all actions impermissible, or remain completely silent. In response to this criticism of utilitarianism, I argued that utilitarianism had the resources for dealing with at least some (...)
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  49. Are Interpersonal Comparisons of Utility Indeterminate?Christian List - 2003 - Erkenntnis 58 (2):229 - 260.
    On the orthodox view in economics, interpersonal comparisons of utility are not empirically meaningful, and "hence" impossible. To reassess this view, this paper draws on the parallels between the problem of interpersonal comparisons of utility and the problem of translation of linguistic meaning, as explored by Quine. I discuss several cases of what the empirical evidence for interpersonal comparisonsof utility might be and show that, even on the strongest of these, interpersonal comparisons are empirically underdetermined and, if (...)
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  50.  54
    Utility and Rights.Raymond Gillespie Frey (ed.) - 1984 - Univ of Minnesota Press.
    Eight of the eleven essays were written expressly for this book; all of the authors are deeply engaged in the debate over utility and rights, and their essays build upon and extend current thinking on the subject.
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