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The received view of framing has multiple interpretations. I flesh out an interpretation that is more open-minded about framing effects than the extensionality principle that Bermúdez formulates. My interpretation attends to the difference between preferences held all things considered and preferences held putting aside some considerations. It also makes room for decision principles that handle cases without a complete all-things-considered preference-ranking of options.
An agent often does not have precise probabilities or utilities to guide resolution of a decision problem. I advance a principle of rationality for making decisions in such cases. To begin, I represent the doxastic and conative state of an agent with a set of pairs of a probability assignment and a utility assignment. Then I support a decision principle that allows any act that maximizes expected utility according to some pair of assignments in the set. Assuming that computation of an option's expected utility uses comprehensive possible outcomes that include the option's risk, no consideration supports a stricter requirement.
To compare the options in a decision problem, a common method evaluates for each option the world that would result if the option were realized. This paper argues that one evaluation of an option's world, intrinsic utility, is compositional given a division of an option's world according to the option's consequences and other events. The argument first justifies the norm that an ideal agent should be intrinsically indifferent between two options’ worlds given that she is intrinsically indifferent between the options’ consequences. Then it uses this norm and the existence of intrinsic utilities respecting intrinsic indifference to establish intrinsic utility's compositionality. The results regulate human agents when they approximate ideal agents in pertinent respects. The paper begins with a general explanation of compositionality; the related phenomena of interchangeability, complementarity, and independence; and the effect on compositionality of context and arrangement of a composite's parts. After arguing for intrinsic utility's compositionality, the paper explains its role in decision theory.
The Prisoner's Dilemma teaches many lessons about individuals interacting. A very prominent lesson, the one I treat and call its lesson, concerns standards of rationality. This lesson reveals profound points about the relationship between rationality's standards for individuals and its standards for groups.
Rationality is a normative and evaluative concept. Agents should act rationally, and their acts, if free, are evaluable for rationality. Rationality considers an agent's abilities and circumstances before judging an act. Because rationality recognizes excuses, acting irrationally is blameworthy. If an agent has an excuse for a defective act so that the act is not blameworthy, then it is not irrational. These points pertain to the ordinary, common conception of rationality, which I use, rather than a technical conception that offers precision but has less normative interest.
A general theory of rationality with explanatory power covers rational action in possible worlds besides the actual world. A model for a theory of rationality constructs a possible world with features that control for factors in the explanation of a rational choice. For instance, a model may specify that agents are fully informed despite agents' ignorance in the actual world. A model's assumptions may be either idealizations or just restrictions. An idealization states a condition that promotes realization of goals of rationality, which rational agents want to attain, such as making informed choices. Because an idealization facilitates attaining a rational agent's goals, rational agents want its realization too. For example, because a rational agent wants to make informed choices, she also wants to gather information. Full information about relevant facts is thus an ideal condition for a decision problem. In contrast, a mere restriction states a condition that does not promote goals of rationality but may simplify explanations of rational action. For example, that an agent has a linear utility function for amounts of money is a restriction rather than an idealization because a rational agent need not want to have such a utility function either as a goal or as a means of attaining a goal of rationality.