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Book part
Publication date: 30 October 2020

Carlo Zappia

This chapter documents an exchange between Leonard Savage, founder of the subjective probability approach to decision-making, and Karl Popper, advocate of the so-called…

Abstract

This chapter documents an exchange between Leonard Savage, founder of the subjective probability approach to decision-making, and Karl Popper, advocate of the so-called propensity approach to probability, of which there is no knowledge in the literature on probability theory. Early in 1958, just after being informally tested by Daniel Ellsberg with a test of consistency in decision-making processes that originated the so-called Ellsberg Paradox, Savage was made aware that a similar argument had been put forward by Popper. Popper found it paradoxical that two apparently similar events should be attributed the same subjective probability even though evidence supporting judgment in one case was different than in the other case. On this ground, Popper rejected the subjective probability approach. Inspection of the Savage Papers archived at Yale University Library makes it possible to document Savage’s reaction to Popper, of which there is no evidence in his published writings. Savage wrote to Popper denying that his criticism had paradoxical content and a brief exchange followed. The chapter shows that while Savage was unconvinced by Popper’s argument he was not hostile to an axiomatically founded generalization of his theory.

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Research in the History of Economic Thought and Methodology: Including a Symposium on Sir James Steuart: The Political Economy of Money and Trade
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-83867-707-7

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To view the access options for this content please click here
Book part
Publication date: 30 October 2020

Abstract

Details

Research in the History of Economic Thought and Methodology: Including a Symposium on Sir James Steuart: The Political Economy of Money and Trade
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-83867-707-7

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