Research Forum – Lara Buchak (Princeton): "How to Care about Risk, Inequality, and Caution"
November 03, 2020, 16.15-17.45
ABSTRACT: In decision theory, there is a standard strategy to deal with the phenomenon of risk-aversion. In social choice theory, there is a standard strategy to deal with the phenomenon of inequality-aversion. In formal epistemology, there is a standard strategy to deal with the phenomenon of being cautious in adopting beliefs. These three phenomena — risk-aversion, inequality-aversion, and caution — can all be described mathematically as “aversion to spread", and the standard strategies for dealing with them all as instances of the same general response to spread-aversion. I’ll argue, however, that a different general response is available, which in each of the three domains might better capture the phenomenon itself. By considering what we actually care about, I’ll distinguish between when we should use the standard strategy and when we should use my alternative.
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