To Believe or Not Believe… or Not Decide: A Decision-Theoretic Model of Agnosticism
AbstractUsing 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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Bibliographic InfoPaper 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.
Length: 33 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2010
Date of revision:
Agnosticism; Decision theory; Religion; Procrastination; Signal; Uncertainty;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- C44 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods: Special Topics - - - Operations Research; Statistical Decision Theory
- D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2010-10-30 (All new papers)
- NEP-HPE-2010-10-30 (History & Philosophy of Economics)
- NEP-MIC-2010-10-30 (Microeconomics)
- NEP-UPT-2010-10-30 (Utility Models & Prospect Theory)
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