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Pragmatic Considerations on Comparative Probability

Thomas Icard
Philosophy of Science
2016

Abstract: While pragmatic arguments for numerical probability axioms have received much attention, justifications for axioms of qualitative probability have been less discussed. We offer an argument for the requirement that an agent’s qualitative (comparative) judgments be probabilistically representable, inspired by, but importantly different from, the Money Pump argument for transitivity of preference and Dutch book arguments for quantitative coherence. The argument is supported by a theorem, to the effect that a subject is systematically susceptible to dominance given her preferred acts, if and only if the subject’s comparative judgments preclude representation by a standard probability measure (or set of such measures).