J. Howard Sobel has long been recognised as an important figure in philosophical discussions of rational decision. He has done much to help formulate the concept of causal decision theory. In this volume of essays Sobel explores the Bayesian idea that rational actions maximise expected values, where an action's expected value is a weighted average of its agent's values for its possible total outcomes. Newcomb's Problem and The Prisoner's Dilemma are discussed, and Allais-type puzzles are viewed from the perspective of causal world Bayesianism. The author establishes principles for distinguishing options in decision problems, and studies ways in which perfectly rational causal maximisers can be capable of resolute choices. Several of the essays concern games, with interacting ideally rational and well-informed maximising rationality. Sobel also views critically Gauthier's revisionist ideas about maximising rationality. This collection will be a desideratum for anyone working in the field of rational choice theory, whether in philosophy, economics, political science, psychology, or statistics.
Howard Sobel's work in decision theory is certainly among the most important, interesting, and challenging that is being done by philosophers.
"...there is a profound unity throughout the volume and the analysis is always first-rate...I sincerely hope that this book will be widely read..." Maurice Salles, Mathematical Reviews "Spotting a rational choice is sometimes mercifully easy. Read this book. I guarantee a hefty payoff. Taking a chance on Taking Chances is taking no chance at all." Mark Vorobej, Canadian Philosophical Review "Sobel is one of philosophy's leading experts on decision theory. How nice to have a collection of his contributions! These essays, mostly written during the last ten years, provide an excellent survey of current research in the field...Sobel's book is a cornucopia of insights about rational choice." Ethics