Daniel Ellsberg and the Validation of Normative Propositions

Forthcoming in Œconomia ­­– History / Methodology / Philosophy

18 Pages Posted: 9 Feb 2016

See all articles by Carlo Zappia

Carlo Zappia

University of Siena - Department of Economics and Statistics

Date Written: December 1, 2015

Abstract

In the history of decision theory Daniel Ellsberg is known because his seminal paper “Risk, ambiguity and the Savage axioms” presented the counterexample to Bayesian decision-making that got the normative value of the theory into trouble. An assessment of Ellsberg’s contribution in the more encompassing framework of his long unnoticed 1962 doctoral thesis suggests that, although he did not take part to the ensuing debate, Ellsberg provided a thorough philosophical and methodological background for his critique of Savage’s axiomatization of decision theory. By concentrating mainly on Ellsberg’s analysis of decision-making in his thesis, this paper examines the way he conceived of the possibility to test normative propositions and tries to identify the kind of normative value he attributed to his own suggested solution for the Ellsberg Paradox.

Keywords: decision-making, ambiguity, Ellsberg Paradox

JEL Classification: B21, B41, D81

Suggested Citation

Zappia, Carlo, Daniel Ellsberg and the Validation of Normative Propositions (December 1, 2015). Forthcoming in Œconomia ­­– History / Methodology / Philosophy, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2729301

Carlo Zappia (Contact Author)

University of Siena - Department of Economics and Statistics ( email )

Piazza San Francesco 7
Siena, Siena 53100
Italy

HOME PAGE: http://docenti-deps.unisi.it/carlozappia/

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