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Donald Davidson et al – Outlines of a Formal Theory of Value, Stanford, 1954

Outlines of a Formal Theory of Value, I. Report No. 1. 10 February 1954. Stanford Value Theory Project, and Department of Philosophy, Stanford University. Stanford, CA: Academic Reprints, 1954. 280 x 215 mm, 44 pp., mimeographed or cyclostyled typescript stapled into original printed wrappers, a little dusty, 'Davidson' hand-lettered down spine by a previous owner, outer margin of title-page with a few small holes, otherwise a very good clean copy.

Donald Davidson’s second publication of any kind, preceded only by his brief article ‘Why Study Philosophy?’ (View Point, 2, 22-24). Davidson’s first ‘proper’ publication was in Philosophy of Science, 22, 1955, pp. 140-160. The present report is presumably a forerunner of the book he co-wrote with Patrick Suppes and Sidney Siegel – Decision-Making: An Experimental Approach. Stanford University Press, 1957. Worldcat lists copies of the report only at Stanford and University of Illinois-Chicago.

The Stanford Value Theory Project was one of the first sustained empirical investigations of Expected Utility Theory, the model dating back to Daniel Bernoulli (1700-82) that was formally developed by John von Neumann and Oscar Morgenstern in their book Theory of Games and Economic Behavior, 1944.

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