This paper extends the uncertainty framework of adaptive management to include uncertainty about the objectives to be used in guiding decisions. Adaptive decision making typically assumes explicit and agreed-upon objectives for management, but allows for uncertainty as to the structure of the decision process that generates change through time. Yet it is not unusual for there to be uncertainty (or disagreement) about objectives, with different stakeholders expressing different views not only about resource responses to management but also about the appropriate management objectives. In this paper I extend the treatment of uncertainty in adaptive management, and describe a stochastic structure for the joint occurrence of uncertainty about objectives as well as models, and show how adaptive decision making and the assessment of post-decision monitoring data can be used to reduce uncertainties of both kinds. Different degrees of association between model and objective uncertainty lead to different patterns of learning about objectives.The key assumption Ken makes to enable the application of Markov Decision Processes to uncertain objectives is this: "...the degree of stakeholder commitment to objective k is influenced by the stakeholder’s belief that model b appropriately represents resource dynamics." This is an interesting idea, and while I can imagine circumstances where it is true, I'm not sure how often it represents the situation where different stakeholders have different opinions about objectives. Or more specifically, I'm not sure that it captures the potential dynamics through time of a stakeholders commitment to objective k. His anecdotal examples support the idea that a stakeholder who is strongly committed to an objective k may have a correspondingly high weight associated with a system model b because it will allow them to maximize objective k. That I would agree with - seen plenty of examples myself. I disagree that a) that a stakeholder's belief in model b will change following a Bayesian belief update, and b) even if they agree to modify their belief in model b, their commitment to objective k will not change in proportion.
To be fair, Ken points out in the discussion that this "stochastic linkage" between model uncertainty and objective uncertainty is not the only possibility.