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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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Diachronic Choice

Diachronic Choice

(p.170) 6Diachronic Choice
Risk and Rationality

Lara Buchak

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines how risk-weighted expected utility maximizers perform in diachronic choice situations. In particular, it considers an argument that they are irrational on the grounds that they violate Savage’s Sure-Thing Principle (or the Independence Axiom); and that anyone who violates this principle will be subject to diachronic inconsistency or will be forced to choose an act that from her own point of view does not have the best consequences. An influential argument by Hammond is considered. Two diachronic choice strategies—sophisticated choice and resolute choice—are discussed, and, drawing on work by McClennen, it is argued that at least one of these allows risk-weighted expected utility maximizers to remain consistent and consequentialist while violating the Sure-Thing Principle. The relationship between these strategies and philosophical views about agency is considered.

Keywords:   diachronic choice, risk-weighted expected utility, sure-thing principle, independence axiom, consistency, consequentialism, Hammond, McClennen, sophisticated choice, resolute choice

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