Realistic Decision Theory: Rules for Nonideal Agents in Nonideal Circumstances

Realistic Decision Theory: Rules for Nonideal Agents in Nonideal Circumstances

Realistic Decision Theory: Rules for Nonideal Agents in Nonideal Circumstances

Realistic Decision Theory: Rules for Nonideal Agents in Nonideal Circumstances

Synopsis

Within traditional decision theory, common decision principles -- e.g. the principle to maximize utility -- generally invoke idealization; they govern ideal agents in ideal circumstances. In Realistic Decision Theory, Paul Weirch adds practicality to decision theory by formulating principles applying to nonideal agents in nonideal circumstances, such as real people coping with complex decisions. Bridging the gap between normative demands and psychological resources, Realistic Decision Theory is essential reading for theorists seeking precise normative decision principles that acknowledge the limits and difficulties of human decision-making.

Excerpt

This book treats decision theory's idealizations systematically. It focuses on the evolution of one decision principle as idealizations supporting it are removed. The principle says to maximize informed utility: among your options, adopt one with maximum utility given all relevant information. Lack of information impedes compliance with this principle. A companion principle allowing for uncertainty says to maximize expected utility: among your options, adopt one with maximum expected utility. The step from the original principle to its companion, with the move from full to actual information, illustrates the type of revision of decision principles that takes place as I roll back idealizations. Chapters 2 and 3 discuss the revision process more fully. Later chapters revise the original decision principle further as they remove other standard idealizations concerning agents and their decision problems. Chapters 6 and 7 explore a new and important topic: the way an agent's mistakes before or after a decision problem influence standards of rationality for the problem's resolution.

The writing style aims for precision and thoroughness to satisfy theorists attending to detail but also aims for accessibility to interested students unacquainted with decision theory. The reader does not need prior training in decision theory; principles are explained when introduced; understanding technical sections requires only high school algebra. Chapter 5, which treats higher-order probabilities, may be skipped without loss of continuity. Material for the specialist is confined to . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.