Sunday, November 15, 2009

Understanding decisions - Philosophy Bites

Philosophy Bites invited Richard Bradley to speak of decision making. Understanding the way decisions are made is part of decision theory which was founded by the philosopher Frank Ramsey.

As usual Philosophy Bites manages in summarizing a large subject in under fifteen minutes. Decisions are displayed as being a function of people's desires and beliefs. The decision is then a gamble which contains an attempt to weigh the belief about risks involved counter the desired goals of the decision. The interviewer undertakes an couple of attempts to rule out desires and risks from certain decisions by certain people. Bradley parries by framing differences of culture or of rationality into the elements of desires and beliefs.

I wonder what is the role of decision theory in philosophy. I can see what it means in psychology and it is explained how it can be applied for public policy making. I can even imagine how this plays some role in public decision making, by politicians, administrators and even judges. All of this seems (applied) social science, so where is it philosophical? Or are the boundaries vague enough to have it fit both ways?

More Philosophy Bites:
Nietzsche repossessed,
What can you do with philosophy?,
Morality without God,
Pascal's Pensées,
Fourth Revolution.