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Non-Bayesian Decision Theory: Beliefs and Desires as Reasons for Action (Theory and Decision Library A:)

Martin Peterson

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ISBN 10: 1402086989 / ISBN 13: 9781402086984
Published by Springer, 2008
Used Condition: Good Hardcover
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Bibliographic Details

Title: Non-Bayesian Decision Theory: Beliefs and ...

Publisher: Springer

Publication Date: 2008

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition: Good

Edition: 2008.

About this title

Synopsis:

For quite some time, philosophers, economists, and statisticians have endorsed a view on rational choice known as Bayesianism. The work on this book has grown out of a feeling that the Bayesian view has come to dominate the academic com- nitytosuchanextentthatalternative,non-Bayesianpositionsareseldomextensively researched. Needless to say, I think this is a pity. Non-Bayesian positions deserve to be examined with much greater care, and the present work is an attempt to defend what I believe to be a coherent and reasonably detailed non-Bayesian account of decision theory. The main thesis I defend can be summarised as follows. Rational agents m- imise subjective expected utility, but contrary to what is claimed by Bayesians, ut- ity and subjective probability should not be de?ned in terms of preferences over uncertain prospects. On the contrary, rational decision makers need only consider preferences over certain outcomes. It will be shown that utility and probability fu- tions derived in a non-Bayesian manner can be used for generating preferences over uncertain prospects, that support the principle of maximising subjective expected utility. To some extent, this non-Bayesian view gives an account of what modern - cision theory could have been like, had decision theorists not entered the Bayesian path discovered by Ramsey, de Finetti, Savage, and others. I will not discuss all previous non-Bayesian positions presented in the literature.

From the Back Cover:

This book aims to present an account of rational choice from a non-Bayesian point of view. Rational agents maximize subjective expected utility, but contrary to what is claimed by Bayesians, the author argues that utility and subjective probability should not be defined in terms of preferences over uncertain prospects. To some extent, the author’s non-Bayesian view gives a modern account of what decision theory could have been like, had decision theorists not entered the Bayesian path discovered by Ramsey, Savage, and Jeffrey. The author argues that traditional Bayesian decision theory is unavailing from an action-guiding perspective. For the deliberating Bayesian agent, the output of decision theory is not a set of preferences over alternative acts - these preferences are on the contrary used as input to the theory. Instead, the output is a (set of) utility function(s) that can be used for describing the agent as an expected utility maximizer, which are of limited normative relevance.On the non-Bayesian view articulated by the author, utility and probability are defined in terms of preferences over certain outcomes. These utility and probability functions are then used for generating preferences over uncertain prospects, which conform to the principle of maximizing expected utility. It is argued that this approach offers more action guidance.

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