This paper shows that a "principle of complete ignorance" plays a central role in decisions based on Dempster belief functions. Such belief functions occur when, in a first stage, a random message is received and then, in a second stage, a true state of nature obtains. The uncertainty about the random message in the first stage is probabilizable, in agreement with the Bayesian principles. For the uncertainty in the second stage no probabilities are given. The Bayesian and belief function approaches part ways in the processing of uncertainty in the second stage. The Bayesian approach requires that this uncertainty also be probabilized, which may require a resort to subjective information. Belief functions follow the principle of complete ignorance in the second stage, which permits strict adherence to objective inputs.
Keywords. Belief functions, complete ignorance, Bayesianism, nonadditive measures, ambiguity
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Department of Medical Decision Making
|Peter P. Wakker||Wakker@MDM.MedFac.LeidenUniv.nl|
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Peter P. Wakker