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Walter the Banker: The Conjunction Fallacy Reconsidered

Hartmann, Stephan and Meijs, Wouter (2010) Walter the Banker: The Conjunction Fallacy Reconsidered. [Preprint]

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    In a famous experiment by Tversky and Kahneman (1983), featuring Linda the bank teller, the participants assign a higher probability to a conjunction of propositions than to one of the conjuncts, thereby seemingly committing a probabilistic fallacy. In this paper, we discuss a slightly different example featuring someone named Walter, who also happens to work at a bank, and argue that, in this example, it is rational to assign a higher probability to the conjunction of suitably chosen propositions than to one of the conjuncts. By pointing out the similarities between Tversky and Kahneman's experiment and our example, we argue that the participants in the experiment may assign probabilities to the propositions in question in such a way that it is also rational for them to give the conjunction a higher probability than one of the conjuncts.

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    Item Type: Preprint
    Additional Information: This paper will appear in Synthese 179:2 (2011).
    Keywords: Conjunction fallacy, Linda problem, psychology of reasoning, Bayesian epistemology
    Subjects: Specific Sciences > Probability/Statistics
    General Issues > Decision Theory
    General Issues > Confirmation/Induction
    Specific Sciences > Psychology/Psychiatry
    Specific Sciences > Cognitive Science
    Depositing User: Stephan Hartmann
    Date Deposited: 06 Aug 2010
    Last Modified: 07 Oct 2010 11:19
    Item ID: 5506

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