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An Interval-Valued Utility Theory for Decision Making with Dempster-Shafer Belief Functions

by   Thierry Denoeux, et al.
The University of Kansas
Université de Technologie de Compiègne

The main goal of this paper is to describe an axiomatic utility theory for Dempster-Shafer belief function lotteries. The axiomatic framework used is analogous to von Neumann-Morgenstern's utility theory for probabilistic lotteries as described by Luce and Raiffa. Unlike the probabilistic case, our axiomatic framework leads to interval-valued utilities, and therefore, to a partial (incomplete) preference order on the set of all belief function lotteries. If the belief function reference lotteries we use are Bayesian belief functions, then our representation theorem coincides with Jaffray's representation theorem for his linear utility theory for belief functions. We illustrate our framework using some examples discussed in the literature, and we propose a simple model based on an interval-valued pessimism index representing a decision-maker's attitude to ambiguity and indeterminacy. Finally, we compare our decision theory with those proposed by Jaffray, Smets, Dubois et al., Giang and Shenoy, and Shafer.


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