Skip to main content Accessibility help


  • Samir Okasha (a1)


This paper explores the contrast between mentalistic and behaviouristic interpretations of decision theory. The former regards credences and utilities as psychologically real, while the latter regards them as mere representations of an agent's preferences. Philosophers typically adopt the former interpretation, economists the latter. It is argued that the mentalistic interpretation is preferable if our aim is to use decision theory for descriptive purposes, but if our aim is normative then the behaviouristic interpretation cannot be dispensed with.



Hide All
Arrow, K. 1951. Social Choice and Individual Values. New York, NY: John Wiley and Sons.
Bermudez, J. L. 2009. Decision Theory and Rationality. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Bernoulli, D. 1738. Exposition of a new theory on the measurement of risk. Reprinted in Econometrica 22: 2326, 1954.
Binmore, K. 2008. Rational Decisions. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Bradley, R. 2004. Ramsey's representation theorem. Dialectica 58: 483497.
Briggs, R. 2010. Decision-theoretic paradoxes as voting paradoxes. Philosophical Review 119: 130.
Broome, J. 1991. Weighing Goods. Oxford: Blackwell.
Buchak, L. 2013. Risk and Rationality. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Camerer, C. 2008. The case for mindful economics. In The Foundations of Positive and Normative Economics, ed. Caplin, A. and Schotter, A., 4369. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Caplin, A. and Schotter, A.. 2008. The Foundations of Positive and Normative Economics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Christensen, D. 2001. Preference-based arguments for probabilism. Philosophy of Science 68: 356376.
Clarke, C. 2012. The Role of Psychology in Economics. Unpublished PhD dissertation, submitted to the University of Bristol.
Clarke, C. 2014. Neuroeconomics and confirmation theory. Philosophy of Science 81: 195215.
Dekel, E. and Lipman, B.. 2010. How (not) to do decision theory. Annual Review of Economics 2: 257282.
Dietrich, F. and List, C.. Forthcoming. Mentalism versus behaviourism in economics: a philosophy-of-science approach. Economics and Philosophy.
Eriksson, L. and Hájek, A.. 2007. What are degrees of belief? Studia Logica 86: 183217.
Friedman, M. and Savage, L.J.. 1948. Utility analysis of choices involving risk. Journal of Political Economy 56: 279304.
Gilboa, I. 2009. Theory of Decision under Uncertainty. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Glimcher, P. W. 2003. Decisions, Uncertainty and the Brain. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Glimcher, P. W., Dorris, M. C. and Bayer, H. M.. 2005. Physiological utility theory and the neuroeconomics of choice. Games and Economic Behaviour 52: 213256.
Gul, F. and Pesendorfer, W.. 2008. The case for mindless economics. In The Foundations of Positive and Normative Economics, ed. Caplin, A. and Schotter, A., 342. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Hampton, J. 1994. The failure of expected utility theory as a theory of reason. Economics and Philosophy 10: 195242.
Hansson, B. 1988. Risk aversion as a problem of conjoint measurement. In Decision, Probability and Utility, ed. Gärdenfors, P. and Sahlin, N. E., 136158. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Harsanyi, J. C. 1977. On the rationale of the Bayesian approach: comments on Professor Watkins’ paper. In Foundational Problems in the Special Sciences, ed. Butts, R. E. and Hintikka, J., 381392. Dordrecht: Reidel.
Jeffrey, R. 1990. The Logic of Decision, 3rd edition. Chicago, IL: Chicago University Press.
Joyce, J. 1999. The Foundations of Causal Decision Theory. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Lewis, D. 1974. Radical interpretation. Synthese 23: 331344.
Lewis, D. 1981. Causal decision theory. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 59: 530.
Luce, R. D. and Raiffa, H.. 1957. Games and Decisions. New York, NY: Dover.
Machina, M. J. 1987. Choice under uncertainty: problems solved and unsolved. Journal of Economic Perspectives 1: 121154.
Marschak, J. 1950. Rational behavior, uncertain prospects, and measurable utility. Econometrica 18: 111141.
Mas-Collel, A., Whinston, M. D. and Green, J. R.. 1995. Microeconomic Theory. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Meacham, C. J. G. and Weisberg, J.. 2011. Representation theorems and the foundations of decision theory. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 89: 641663.
Mellor, D. H. 2005. What does subjective decision theory tell us? In Ramsey's Legacy, ed. Lillehammer, H. and Mellor, D. H., 137148. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Nozick, R. 1969. Newcomb's problem and two principles of choice. In Essays in Honor of Carl G. Hempel, ed. Rescher, N., 114146. Dordrecht: Reidel.
Okasha, S. 2011. Optimal choice in the face of risk: decision theory meets evolution. Philosophy of Science 78: 83104.
Quiggin, J. 1982. A theory of anticipated utility. Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization 3: 323343.
Ramsey, F. P. 1931. Truth and probability. In The Foundations of Mathematics and Other Logical Essays, ed. Braithwaite, R., 156198. London: Kegan Paul.
Savage, L. J. 1954. The Foundations of Statistics. New York, NY: Dover.
Schmeidler, D. 1989. Subjective probability and expected utility without additivity. Econometrica 57: 571587.
Sen, A. 1971. Choice functions and revealed preference. Review of Economic Studies 38: 307317.
Starmer, C. 2000. Developments in non-expected utility theory. Journal of Economic Literature 38: 332382.
von Neumann, J. and Morgenstern, O.. 1944. Theory of Games and Economic Behaviour. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Wakker, P. 2010. Prospect Theory. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


Related content

Powered by UNSILO


  • Samir Okasha (a1)


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed.