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SHACKLE AND MODERN DECISION THEORY

Marcello Basili () and Carlo Zappia ()

Metroeconomica, 2009, vol. 60, issue 2, 245-282

Abstract: The paper discusses the role of George L.S. Shackle in fostering an unconventional approach to individual decision making. Up until the early 1970s Shackle was the single critic of the probabilistic approach to decision making who proposed an alternative formal corpus for dealing with uncertainty. The main aim of the paper is to analyse Shackle's non‐probabilistic conceptualization of individual decisions under uncertainty from a specific viewpoint, namely that of a possible connection between his theory and one of the most interesting recent approaches to decision under uncertainty, the so‐called non‐additive probability approach of Gilboa and Schmeidler. The paper shows that these developments in modern decision theory take Shackle's issue seriously and confirm that the reliance of strict Bayesian theory on probabilistic judgements based on point‐probability estimates, a reliance that Shackle intended to oppose, is untenable. Non‐additive decision theory also provides a usage of non‐additive probability distributions in choice that is an alternative to Shackle's approach of using a qualitative notion of probability, such as potential surprise.

Date: 2009
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https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-999X.2008.00333.x

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