Paper Review: Decision Theory Without Representation Theorems

Decision theory seeks to understand how rational agents should act. More specifically, I am talking about normative decision theory. There is also descriptive decision theory which tries to characterize how people in fact act. For this post (and most of my posts) I will focus on normative decision theory. Importantly, the "should" here is not… Continue reading Paper Review: Decision Theory Without Representation Theorems

Paper Review: Difficulties in the Theory of Personal Probability

Readers of the blog will know that I am a fan of the Bayesian approach to probability. This approach is also sometimes called "personal probability", because it takes probabilities to be the degrees of belief (or credences) of rational agents. We can think of using probability like this as a framework for managing uncertainty in… Continue reading Paper Review: Difficulties in the Theory of Personal Probability

Paper Review: Why Conditionalize?

How should we change our beliefs in the light of new information? This is one of the central questions of epistemology, and has great practical importance. For example, consider a doctor who has a patient who is concerned he might have cancer. The doctor has certain beliefs: for example, she may think that her patient… Continue reading Paper Review: Why Conditionalize?

Paper Review: Bayes, Bounds, and Rational Analysis

Bayesian learning and decision theory (arguably) characterize rationality for idealized agents. However, carrying out Bayesian calculations can often be costly. In particular, the kind of agent one is--whether a human, lizard, or computer--constrains the kind of information processing one can do. This gestures towards a question: what is the relationship between idealized rationality and rationality… Continue reading Paper Review: Bayes, Bounds, and Rational Analysis