Rolf Nelson wrote:
> In standard decision theory, "odds" (subjective probabilities) are
> separated from utilities. Is "how much you care about the consequences
> of your actions" isomorphic to "odds", or is there some subtlety I'm
> missing here?
Your question shows that someone finally understand what I've been trying to
say, I think.
"how much you care about the consequences of your actions" is almost
isomorphic to "odds", except that I've found a couple of cases where
thinking in terms of the former works (i.e. delivers intuitive results)
whereas the latter doesn't. The first I described in "against UD+ASSA, part
The second one is, what if your preferences for two universes are not
independent? For example, suppose you have the following preferences, from
most preferred to least preferred:
1) eat an apple in universe A and eat an orange in universe B
2) eat an orange in universe A and eat an apple in universe B
3) eat an apple in both universes
4) eat an orange in both universes
I don't see why this kind of preference must be irrational if you believe
that both A and B exists. But in standard decision theory, this kind of
preference is not allowed.
To put it more generally, thinking in terms of "how much you care about the
consequences of your actions" *allows* you to have an overall preference
about A and B that can be expressed as an expected utility:
P(A) * U(A) + P(B) * U(B)
since P(A) and P(B) can denote how much you care about universes A and B,
but it doesn't *force* you to have a preference of this form. Standard
decision theory does force you to.
> One thing unclear is whether you're advocating "moral relativism", or
> whether you simply want an "escape clause" in your formal decision
> theory so that if you don't like what your decision theory tells you
> to do, you can alter your decision theory on the spot on a case-by-
> case basis.
That's a very good question. I think if someone were to show me an objective
decision procedure that actually makes sense, I think I would give up "moral
relativism". But in the mean time, I don't see how to avoid these
counterintuitive implications without it.
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