Institute of Philosophy

Workshop for PhD Students

Rationality and Normativity

Tuesday, 2016/06/28 - Wednesday, 2016/06/29

What does it mean to take rational decisions? Modern decision theory has developed methods to determine the course of action which maximizes the (expected) utility for an agent, given her preferences and beliefs. An agent is said to decide rationally if her preferences conform to the axioms of decision theory, and if she chooses the option which promises to maximize her utility. Axioms such as completeness and transitivity are intended as rational requirements of coherence for preferences. Can thus the normativity of rational choice theory be grounded in the normativity of coherence? And why should coherence be normative?

Event organizer: Tanja Rechnitzer, Michael Messerli and Annabel Colas (University of Bern)
Speaker: Sven Ove Hansson (Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden) and Hans Rott (University of Regensburg, Germany)
Date: 2016/06/28 - 2016/06/29
Time: 09:45 Time
Locality: F -122
Lerchenweg 36
Characteristics: open to the public
free of charge

The workshop aims to investigate which insights can be gained from the debate around the normativity of coherence for the question of the normativity of decision theory. The main focus is:

  • The concept of coherence: Do the axioms of decision theory adequately capture the concept of coherence?
  • The normativity of coherence: Can the normativity of decision theory be justified by recourse to coherence? Why should the beliefs and intentions of a rational agent be coherent?