The past two decades have seen a significant shift in perspective on engineering design, from the view that design is a matter of problem solving to the view that it is decision making. This shift was encouraged by the ABET 2000 standards, defining design to be decision making, and by numerous papers appearing since, addressing various aspects of decision theory applied to design. It has opened engineering to the richness of the mathematics of decision theory, which holds the potential to deal far more realistically with design than other views, including a rigorous treatment of uncertainty. On the other hand, decision theory defines a decision in a very precise and perhaps limited way that needs to be recognized. Failure to acknowledge this has led to a number of spurious theories that have emerged to cope with the resulting issues. The purpose of this brief note...

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