A formal framework for deliberated judgment

by   Olivier Cailloux, et al.

While the philosophical literature has extensively studied how decisions relate to arguments, reasons and justifications, decision theory almost entirely ignores the latter notions and rather focuses on preference and belief. In this article, we argue that decision theory can largely benefit from explicitly taking into account the stance that decision-makers take towards arguments and counter-arguments. To that end, we elaborate a formal framework aiming to integrate the role of arguments and argumentation in decision theory and decision aid. We start from a decision situation, where an individual requests decision support. In this context, we formally define, as a commendable basis for decision-aid, this individual's deliberated judgment, popularized by Rawls. We explain how models of deliberated judgment can be validated empirically. We then identify conditions upon which the existence of a valid model can be taken for granted, and analyze how these conditions can be relaxed. We then explore the significance of our proposed framework for decision aiding practice. We argue that our concept of deliberated judgment owes its normative credentials both to its normative foundations (the idea of rationality based on arguments) and to its reference to empirical reality (the stance that real, empirical individuals hold towards arguments and counter-arguments, on due reflection). We then highlight that our framework opens promising avenues for future research involving both philosophical and decision theoretic approaches, as well as empirical implementations.


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