Im Sinne des nun erweit­erten Ein­satzbere­ichs dieses Blogs hier nun also die Präsen­ta­tion zu dem Vor­trag, den Sabine und ich am Mon­tag auf der Kon­ferenz Ratio­nal Agency gehal­ten haben. Unter der Präsen­ta­tion (auf den Pfeil klick­en) find­et sich eine Kurz­zusam­men­fas­sung.

In the fol­low­ing, we shall present a cri­tique of deci­sion the­o­ry as a nor­ma­tive account of deci­sion mak­ing under risk. We claim that deci­sion the­o­ry has to be sup­ple­ment­ed by virtue. To some of you (espe­cial­ly to non-philoso­phers), speak­ing of “virtue” might sound old-fash­ioned or even humor­ous. But we use it as a tech­ni­cal term that refers to a person’s capa­bil­i­ty to assess risk appro­pri­ate­ly in an imme­di­ate, spe­cif­ic kind of per­cep­tu­al way, rather then in an intel­lec­tu­al­ly cal­cu­lat­ing way. Vir­tu­ous risk assess­ment man­i­fests itself both in its possessor’s sen­si­bil­i­ty towards risk and in his being moti­vat­ed to act accord­ing­ly. To estab­lish that deci­sion mak­ing under risk requires virtue, we will, first of all, show that deci­sion the­o­ry is unable to resolve the well-known St. Peters­burg para­dox. The St. Peters­burg game pos­es a long stand­ing prob­lem to deci­sion the­o­ry because it has infi­nite expect­ed val­ue and yet seems to be worth much less. As we shall argue, the sys­tem­at­ic devi­a­tion from puta­tive­ly ratio­nal choice can be jus­ti­fied as an instance of virtue. In sup­port of this argu­ment, we will estab­lish that, con­trary to com­mon belief, deci­sion sit­u­a­tions can be found in real life which enter­tain the struc­ture of the St. Peters­burg game, or rather of the invert­ed St. Peters­burg game which we shall intro­duce. We main­tain that in many cas­es the assess­ment of risky tech­nolo­gies is such that a deci­sion has to be made about pos­si­ble but extreme­ly unlike­ly out­comes with an “infi­nite” neg­a­tive val­ue (so to speak). In these cas­es, virtue is need­ed to avoid an inap­pro­pri­ate assess­ment of these options by a deci­sion the­o­ry that is expect­ed to do too much – or so we shall argue.

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