Risk, rationality and expected utility theory

Richard Pettigrew*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)
885 Downloads (Pure)


There are decision problems where the preferences that seem rational to many people cannot be accommodated within orthodox decision theory in the natural way. In response, a number of alternatives to the orthodoxy have been proposed. In this paper, I offer an argument against those alternatives and in favour of the orthodoxy. I focus on preferences that seem to encode sensitivity to risk. And I focus on the alternative to the orthodoxy proposed by Lara Buchaks risk-weighted expected utility theory. I will show that the orthodoxy can be made to accommodate all of the preferences that Buchaks theory can accommodate.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)798-826
Number of pages29
JournalCanadian Journal of Philosophy
Issue number5-6
Early online date8 Jan 2016
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2016


  • accuracy
  • decision theory
  • expected utility theory
  • rational choice theory
  • Risk
  • scoring rules


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