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Risk and Rationality$
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Lara Buchak

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199672165

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199672165.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 23 September 2021

Consistency

Consistency

Chapter:
(p.148) 5Consistency
Source:
Risk and Rationality
Author(s):

Lara Buchak

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199672165.003.0006

This chapter discusses instrumental rationality and what decision theorists take it to consist in. It is claimed that to be decision-theoretically rational is to have consistent preferences and to prefer the means to one’s ends given one’s beliefs and desires. This chapter explains two additional axiomatic ways to see the dispute between expected utility theory and risk-weighted expected utility theory: as a dispute about whether Savage’s Sure-Thing Principle (STP) and the related Independence Axiom are genuine requirements of rationality or whether decision theorists should instead accept weakened versions of them. Attempts to show that STP and the Independence Axiom are self-evident constraints on instrumentally rational preferences—particularly those by Harsanyi, Samuelson, and Broome—are considered.

Keywords:   instrumental rationality, consistency, sure-thing principle, independence axiom, Savage, Harsanyi, Samuelson, Broome, expected utility, risk-weighted expected utility

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