, Volume 48, Issue 4, pp 311-318

Preference stability and substitution of indifferents: a rejoinder to Seidenfeld

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Abstract

Seidenfeld (Seidenfeld, T. [1988a], Decision theory without 'Independence' or without 'Ordering', Economics and Philosophy 4: 267-290) gave an argument for Independence based on a supposition that admissibility of a sequential option is preserved under substitution of indifferents at choice nodes (S). To avoid a natural complaint that (S) begs the question against a critic of Independence, he provided an independent proof of (S) in his (Seidenfeld, T. [1988b], Rejoinder [to Hammond and McClennen], Economics and Philosophy 4: 309-315). In reply to my (Rabinowicz, W. [1995], To have one's cake and eat it too: Sequential choice and expected-utility violations, The Journal of Philosophy 92: 586-620), in which I argue that the proof is invalid, Seidenfeld (Seidenfeld, T. [2000], Substitution of indifferent options at choice nodes and admissibility: A reply to Rabinowicz, Theory and Decision 48: 305–310 this issue) submits that I fail to give due consideration to one of the underlying assumptions of his derivation: it is meant to apply only to those cases in which the agent's preferences are stable throughout the sequential decision process. The purpose of this note is to clarify the notion of preference stability so as meet this objection.