Theory and Decision

, Volume 47, Issue 1, pp 23–55 | Cite as

Conditional Desirability

  • Richard Bradley


Conditional attitudes are not the attitudes an agent is disposed to acquire in event of learning that a condition holds. Rather they are the components of agent's current attitudes that derive from the consideration they give to the possibility that the condition is true. Jeffrey's decision theory can be extended to include quantitative representation of the strength of these components. A conditional desirability measure for degrees of conditional desire is proposed and shown to imply that an agent's degrees of conditional belief are conditional probabilities. Rational conditional preference is axiomatised and by application of Bolker's representation theorem for rational preferences it is shown that conditional preference rankings determine the existence of probability and desirability measures that agree with them. It is then proven that every conditional desirability function agrees with an agent's conditional preferences and, under certain assumptions, every desirability function agreeing with an agent's conditional preferences is a conditional desirability function agreeing with her unconditional preferences.

Conditional attitudes Beliefs Desires Rationality Conditional probability Conditional desirability Decision theory Representation theorem Conditional preference 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard Bradley
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre de Recherche en Epistémologie AppliquéeParisFrance Phone

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