Decision Theory : A Brief Introduction

 What is decision theory?

Decision theory is theory about decisions. The subject is not a very unified one. To the contrary, there are many different ways to theorize about decisions, and therefore also many different research traditions. This text attempts to reflect some of the diversity of the subject. Its emphasis lies on the less (mathematically) technical aspects of decision theory.

Sven Ove Hansson: Decision Theory : A Brief Introduction 


1. What is decision theory?
1.1 Theoretical questions about decisions
1.2 A truly interdisciplinary subject
1.3 Normative and descriptive theories
1.4 Outline of the following chapters

2. Decision processes
2.1 Condorcet
2.2 Modem sequential models
2.3 Non-sequential models
2.4 The phases of practical decisions – and of decision theory

3. Deciding and valuing
3.1 Relations and numbers
3.2 The comparative value terms
3.3 Completeness
3.4 Transitivity
3.5 Using preferences in decision-making
3.6 Numerical representation
3.7 Using utilities in decision-making

4. The standard representation of individual decisions
4.1 Alternatives
4.2 Outcomes and states of nature
4.3 Decision matrices
4.4 Information about states of nature

5. Expected utility
5.1 What is expected utility?
5.2 Objective and subjective utility
5.3 Appraisal of EU
5.4 Probability estimates

6. Bayesianism
6.1 What is Bayesianism?
6.2 Appraisal of Bayesianism
7. Variations of expected utility
7.1 Process utilities and regret theory
7.2 Prospect theory

8. Decision-making under uncertainty
8.1 Paradoxes of uncertainty
8.2 Measures of incompletely known probabilities
8.3 Decision criteria for uncertainty

9. Decision-making under ignorance
9.1 Decision rules for “classical ignorance”
9.2 Unknown possibilities

10. The demarcation of decisions
10.1 Unfinished list of alternatives
10.2 Indeterminate decision horizons
11. Decision instability
11.1 Conditionalized EU
11.2 Newcomb’s paradox
11.3 Instability
12. Social decision theory
12.1 The basic insight
12.2 Arrow’s theorem

Language: English
Format: PDF
Pages: 94
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