Fall 2007

Choice, Chance and Conflict

Listed in: Philosophy, as PHIL-28


Joseph G. Moore (Section 01)


Life is a risky and competitive business. As individuals, we constantly confront choices involving chancy and uncertain outcomes. And our institutional decisions-in government and business, for example-are often complicated by the competing interests of the individuals involved. Are there any general, rational procedures for making individual and institutional choices that involve chance and conflict? Positive proposals have been developed within decision theory, game theory and social choice theory. This course will provide an introduction to these theories and their philosophical foundations. Topics include the following: different conceptions of probability and utility; proposed rules for rational decision making under ignorance and risk; recent accounts of the way we actually assess prospects and make decisions; the source of altruism and fairness; "tragedies of the commons"; voting procedures and other methods of determining a just group policy. First semester. Professor Moore.