Do pragmatic arguments show too much?

  • Martin PetersonEmail author
Original paper in Decision and Game Theory


Pragmatic arguments seek to demonstrate that you can be placed in a situation in which you will face a sure and foreseeable loss if you do not behave in accordance with some principle P. In this article I show that for every P entailed by the principle of maximizing expected utility you will not be better off from a pragmatic point of view if you accept P than if you don’t, because even if you obey the axioms of expected utility theory it is possible to place you in a situation in which you will face a certain and foreseeable loss. This shows that for a large class of Ps, there is no pragmatic difference between people who accept P and those who don’t.


Pragmatic argument Decision theory Money pump 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyTexas A&M UniversityCollege StationUSA

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