Learning and Discovery

We formulate a dynamic framework for an individual decision-maker within which discovery of previously unconsidered propositions is possible. Using a standard game-theoretic representation of the state space as a tree structure generated by the actions of agents (including acts of nature), we show how unawareness of propositions can be represented by a coarsening of the state space. Furthermore we develop a semantics rich enough to describe the individual's awareness that currently undiscovered propositions may be discovered in the future. Introducing probability concepts, we derive a representation of ambiguity in terms of multiple priors, reflecting implicit beliefs about undiscovered proposition, and derive conditions for the special case in which standard Bayesian learning may be applied to a subset of unambiguous propositions. Finally, we consider exploration strategies appropriate to the context of discovery, comparing and contrasting them with learning strategies appropriate to the context of justification, and sketch applications to scientific research and entrepreneurship.

Issue Date:
Jul 27 2006
Publication Type:
Working or Discussion Paper
PURL Identifier:
Total Pages:
JEL Codes:
D80; D82
Series Statement:
Risk and Uncertainty Program

 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2017-08-27

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