Hard Choices: Decision Making Under Unresolved Conflict

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Cambridge University Press, Apr 27, 1990 - Philosophy - 250 pages
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It is a commonplace that in making decisions agents often have to juggle competing values, and that no choice will maximize satisfaction of them all. However, the prevailing account of these cases assumes that there is always a single ranking of the agent's values, and therefore no unresolvable conflict among them. Isaac Levi denies this assumption, arguing that agents often must choose without having balanced their different values and that to be rational, an act does not have to be optimal, only what Levi terms "admissible." This book explores the consequences of denying the assumption and develops a general approach to decision-making under unresolved conflict. Professor Levi argues not only against the "strict Bayesian" position, but also against all the recent attempts to develop alternative models to Bayesianism. The book, which continues from his earlier The Enterprise of Knowledge, is certain to make an original and controversial contribution to the debates over choice theory.
 

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Contents

MORAL STRUGGLE
1
12 Withholding judgement
5
13 For the best all things considered
13
14 The plan of this book
17
DILEMMAS
20
22 Guilt
24
23 Choosing without resolving conflict
28
24 Unresolved conflict generalized
35
75 Credal indeterminacy
114
76 Upper and lower betting quotients
122
77 Ellsbergs problem
128
78 The Allais problem
140
79 Consistency of choice
145
710 Conclusion
148
CONFLICT AND SOCIAL AGENCY
149
82 Benevolence and conflict
154

VALUES IN SCIENTIFIC INQUIRY
36
32 Cognitive and practical values
42
33 Pluralism and conflict
46
CHOICE AND FOREKNOWLEDGE
47
42 Choice
53
43 Foreknowledge and freedom
58
44 The argument thus far
67
VALUE STRUCTURES
69
52 Ways of evaluation
71
53 The mixture property
74
54 Potential resolutions
77
55 Cardinal and ordinal conflict
79
56 Vadmissibility
80
VALUES REVEALED BY CHOICES
83
62 Value preference
84
63 Robust preference
85
64 Optimality
86
65 Categorical Preference
91
66 Revealing preference
95
67 Normality
97
68 Revealed preference according to Vadmissibility
99
69 Lexicographical Vadmissibility
104
610 Conclusion
106
UNCERTAINTY AS A SOURCE OF CONFLICT
108
72 Extended value structures
109
73 Lexicography
110
74 Expected value
111
DISTRIBUTING BENEFITS
158
92 Benefit comparison structures
164
93 The average benefit principle
170
94 Benefit level dictatorship
173
95 Admissibility
174
96 Fair distribution
177
UTILITARIANISM AND CONFLICT
185
103 Average versus total utility
186
104 Classical utilitarianism
190
105 Preference utilitarianism
192
106 Conclusion
198
SOCIAL CHOICE THEORY
201
112 Lexicography
204
113 Independence
206
114 Paretian conditions
208
115 Invariance
210
116 Anonymity
211
117 Benevolence for all
212
118 Potential resolutions
213
1110 Leximinbadmissibility and ablileximinadmissibility
214
1111 Arrows impossibility
216
CONFLICT AND INQUIRY
219
Notes
223
Bibliography
243
Name index
247
Subject index
249
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