A Mathematical Theory of Evidence For G.L.S. Shakle

Guido Fioretti
Università di Firenze
ICER, Torino

Evidence Theory is a branch of mathematics that concerns the combination of empirical evidence in an individual’s mind in order to construct a coherent picture of reality. Designed to deal with unexpected empirical evidence suggesting new possibilities, evidence theory has a lot in common with Shackle’s idea of decision-making as a creative act. This essay investigates this connection in detail, pointing to the usefulness of evidence theory to formalise and extend Shackle’s decision theory.

In order to ease a proper framing of the issues involved, evidence theory is not only compared with Shackle’s ideas but also with additive and sub-additive probability theories. Furthermore, the presentation of evidence theory does not refer to the original version only, but takes account of its most recent developments, too.