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To Believe or Not Believe… or Not Decide: A Decision-Theoretic Model of Agnosticism

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Author Info

  • Tigran Melkonyan

    ()
    (Department of Resource Economics, University of Nevada, Reno)

  • Mark Pingle

    ()
    (Department of Economics, University of Nevada, Reno)

Abstract

Using basic decision-theory, we construct a theory of agnosticism, where agnosticism is defined as choosing not to choose a religion. The theory indicates agnosticism can be supported as a rational choice if (a) adopting agnosticism provides in-life benefits relative to any religion, (b) the perceived payoff for agnosticism after death is not too much less than any religion, (c) no religion has a high perceived likelihood of truth, (d) probability of death is neither too high nor too low, or (e) it is less costly to switch from agnosticism to a given religion than from one religion to another, while at the same time there is a reasonable likelihood an informative signal may be received in life as to the truth of various religions.

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File URL: http://www.coba.unr.edu/econ/wp/papers/UNRECONWP10005.pdf
File Function: First version, 2010
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Nevada, Reno, Department of Economics & University of Nevada, Reno , Department of Resource Economics in its series Working Papers with number 10-005.

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Length: 33 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:unr:wpaper:10-005

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Related research

Keywords: Agnosticism; Decision theory; Religion; Procrastination; Signal; Uncertainty;

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Blog mentions

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  1. Being rationally agnostic
    by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2010-11-25 15:32:00

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