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Journal Articles Economics and Philosophy Year : 2009

Is It Always Rational to Satisfy Savage's Axioms?


This note argues that, under some circumstances, it is more rational not to behave in accordance with a Bayesian prior than to do so. The starting point is that in the absence of information, choosing a prior is arbitrary. If the prior is to have meaningful implications, it is more rational to admit that one does not have sufficient information to generate a prior than to pretend that one does. This suggests a view of rationality that requires a compromise between internal coherence and justification, similarly to compromises that appear in moral dilemmas. Finally, it is argued that Savage's axioms are more compelling when applied to a naturally given state space than to an analytically constructed one, in the latter case, it may be more rational to violate the axioms than to be Bayesian.

Dates and versions

hal-00493170 , version 1 (18-06-2010)



Itzhak Gilboa, Andrew Postlewaite, David Schmeidler. Is It Always Rational to Satisfy Savage's Axioms?. Economics and Philosophy, 2009, Vol.25,nº3, pp.285-297. ⟨10.1017/S0266267109990241⟩. ⟨hal-00493170⟩


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