Interdisciplinarity in the Decision Sciences: Beyond Instrumental Reasoning for Decision Making

Dr David B. Matthews
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Decision theory should consist of much more than a set of mathematical (or statistical) tools for optimising predetermined objective functions. It should also concern itself with the ways in which individuals and groups come to value some things over others and how these values can be justified (especially in the case of conflicting values) and harnessed in order to make wise choices. As such, decision theory should concern itself with behavioural psychology, epistemology and ethics as well as mathematics and statistics. At its core it should be an instance of interdisciplinary social science.

This paper argues that the decision sciences need to move beyond a purely instrumental approach to decision making and presents some ways in which different disciplines can contribute to an interdisciplinary decision science.

Keywords: Decision Theory, Behavioural Psychology, Applied Philosophy, Epistemology, Scenarios, Futures, Forecasting, Ethics
Stream: Economics and Management
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.

Dr David B. Matthews

Planning Systems Scientist, Strategy & Concepts Branch
Defence Systems Analysis Division, Australian Defence Science & Technology Organisation

Adelaide, South Australia, Australia

David is a Planning Systems Scientist with the Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO) of Australia. He has an Honours Degree in Applied Mathematics and a Ph.D. in Systems Thinking, both from the University of Adelaide. His main research interests involve problems at the interface of operational research, the management, planning and decision sciences, social theory, and applied philosophy. In particular, he has recently undertaken a major study on the use of contemporary trends in epistemology (e.g. pragmatism, post-structuralism, post-modernism, etc) for helping understand systemic national (and international) management and planning problems.

Ref: I06P0149