Hybrid Vigor

Coherence and Correspondence Criteria for Heuristics


  • Patricia Rich University of Hamburg, Germany




Ecological rationality, Expected utility, Transitivity, Independence, Priority Heuristic, Simulations


The ecological approach to rationality involves evaluating choice processes instead of choices themselves, and there are good reasons for doing this. Proponents of the ecological approach insist that objective performance criteria (such as monetary gains) replace axiomatic criteria, but this claim is highly contentious. This paper investigates these issues through a case study: 12 risky choice processes are simulated, and their performance records are compared. The first criterion is conformity to the Expected Utility axioms; the Priority Heuristic stands out for frequently violating Transitivity. Next, the Expected Value criterion is applied. Minimax performs especially poorly—despite never violating an axiom—highlighting the tension between axiomatic (coherence) and objective (correspondence) criteria. Finally, I show that axiom violations carry high costs in terms of expected value. Accordingly, coherence does not guarantee objectively high performance, but incoherence does guarantee diminished performance.

Author Biography

Patricia Rich, University of Hamburg, Germany

Patricia Rich is a researcher on the DFG project Knowledge and Decision (P.I. Moritz Schulz) in the Philosophy Department at the University of Hamburg. Her main research areas are epistemology and game and decision theory, with a focus on interdisciplinary methodology. In addition to the present topic, she has written on belief revision in games and reputation in signaling games.




How to Cite

Rich, P. (2018). Hybrid Vigor: Coherence and Correspondence Criteria for Heuristics. Erasmus Journal for Philosophy and Economics, 11(1), 1–30. https://doi.org/10.23941/ejpe.v11i1.284