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Learning and Discovery

Author

Listed:
  • Simon Grant

    () (Department of Economics, Rice University)

  • John Quiggin

    () (Department of Economics, University of Queensland)

Abstract

We formulate a dynamic framework for an individual decision-maker within which discovery of previously unconsidered propositions is possible. Using a standard game-theoretic representation of the state space as a tree structure generated by the actions of agents (including acts of nature), we show how unawareness of propositions can be represented by a coarsening of the state space. Furthermore we develop a semantics rich enough to describe the individual's awareness that currently undiscovered propositions may be discovered in the future. Introducing probability concepts, we derive a representation of ambiguity in terms of multiple priors, reflecting implicit beliefs about undiscovered proposition, and derive conditions for the special case in which standard Bayesian learning may be applied to a subset of unambiguous propositions. Finally, we consider exploration strategies appropriate to the context of discovery, comparing and contrasting them with learning strategies appropriate to the context of justification, and sketch applications to scientific research and entrepreneurship.

Suggested Citation

  • Simon Grant & John Quiggin, 2005. "Learning and Discovery," Risk & Uncertainty Working Papers WP7R05, Risk and Sustainable Management Group, University of Queensland.
  • Handle: RePEc:rsm:riskun:r05_7
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    File URL: http://www.uq.edu.au/rsmg/WP/WPR05_7.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Yaari, Menahem E, 1987. "The Dual Theory of Choice under Risk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(1), pages 95-115, January.
    2. Hart, Sergiu & Heifetz, Aviad & Samet, Dov, 1996. ""Knowing Whether," "Knowing That," and The Cardinality of State Spaces," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 70(1), pages 249-256, July.
    3. Karni, Edi, 2006. "Subjective expected utility theory without states of the world," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(3), pages 325-342, June.
    4. Itzhak Gilboa & David Schmeidler, 1995. "Case-Based Decision Theory," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(3), pages 605-639.
    5. Modica, Salvatore & Rustichini, Aldo, 1999. "Unawareness and Partitional Information Structures," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 265-298, May.
    6. Karni, Edi & Safra, Zvi, 1990. "Behaviorally consistent optimal stopping rules," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 391-402, August.
    7. Kahneman, Daniel & Tversky, Amos, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(2), pages 263-291, March.
    8. Heifetz, Aviad & Meier, Martin & Schipper, Burkhard C., 2006. "Interactive unawareness," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 130(1), pages 78-94, September.
    9. Chateauneuf, Alain & Eichberger, Jurgen & Grant, Simon, 2007. "Choice under uncertainty with the best and worst in mind: Neo-additive capacities," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 137(1), pages 538-567, November.
    10. Gilboa, Itzhak & Schmeidler, David, 1989. "Maxmin expected utility with non-unique prior," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 141-153, April.
    11. Eichberger, Jurgen & Grant, Simon & Kelsey, David, 2007. "Updating Choquet beliefs," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(7-8), pages 888-899, September.
    12. Jean-Yves Jaffray & Fabrice Philippe, 1997. "On the Existence of Subjective Upper and Lower Probabilities," Mathematics of Operations Research, INFORMS, vol. 22(1), pages 165-185, February.
    13. Dekel, Eddie, 1986. "An axiomatic characterization of preferences under uncertainty: Weakening the independence axiom," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 40(2), pages 304-318, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Quiggin, John, 2008. "Risk Shifts in Australia: Implications of the Financial Crisis," Risk and Sustainable Management Group Working Papers 151520, University of Queensland, School of Economics.
    2. Simon Grant & John Quiggin, 2013. "Inductive reasoning about unawareness," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 54(3), pages 717-755, November.
    3. John Quiggin, "undated". "Complexity, Climate Change and the Precautionary Principle," Climate Change Working Papers WPC07_3, Risk and Sustainable Management Group, University of Queensland.
    4. Grant, Simon & Kline, Jeff & Quiggin, John, 2006. "Lost in Translation: Honest Misunderstandings and Ex Post Disputes," Risk and Sustainable Management Group Working Papers 151177, University of Queensland, School of Economics.
    5. Halpern, Joseph Y. & Rêgo, Leandro C., 2009. "Reasoning about knowledge of unawareness," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 503-525, November.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D80 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - General
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design

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