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  1. Frank Arntzenius, No Regrets.
    I argue that standard decision theories, namely causal decision theory and evidential decision theory, are incoherent. I devise a new decision theory, from which standard game theory will follow as a corollary.
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  2. Gustaf Arrhenius & Wlodek Rabinowicz (2005). Value and Unacceptable Risk. Economics and Philosophy 21 (2):177-197.
    Consider a transitive value ordering of outcomes and lotteries on outcomes, which satisfies substitutivity of equivalents and obeys “continuity for easy cases,” i.e., allows compensating risks of small losses by chances of small improvements. Temkin (2001) has argued that such an ordering must also – rather counter-intuitively – allow chances of small improvements to compensate risks of huge losses. In this paper, we show that Temkin's argument is flawed but that a better proof is possible. However, it is more difficult (...)
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  3. Marcus Arvan (forthcoming). How to Rationally Approach Life's Transformative Experiences. Philosophical Psychology.
    In a widely discussed forthcoming article, “What you can’t expect when you’re expecting”, as well as in a forthcoming book, L.A. Paul uses the notion of transformative experience to challenge culturally and philosophically traditional views about how to rationally make major life-decisions, most specifically the decision of whether to have children. The present paper argues that if the problem Paul presents has no direct solution—if there is no way to defend the philosophically and culturally dominant approach to rational decision-making for (...)
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  4. Magnus Boman (1999). Norms in Artificial Decision Making. Artificial Intelligence and Law 7 (1):17-35.
    A method for forcing norms onto individual agents in a multi-agent system is presented. The agents under study are supersoft agents: autonomous artificial agents programmed to represent and evaluate vague and imprecise information. Agents are further assumed to act in accordance with advice obtained from a normative decision module, with which they can communicate. Norms act as global constraints on the evaluations performed in the decision module and hence no action that violates a norm will be suggested to any agent. (...)
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  5. Franz Dietrich, How to Reach Legitimate Decisions When the Procedure is Controversial.
    Imagine a group that faces a decision problem but does not agree on which decision procedure is appropriate. In that case, can a decision be reached that respects the procedural concerns of the group? There is a sense in which legitimate decisions are possible even if people disagree on which procedure to use. I propose to decide in favour of an option which maximizes the number of persons whose judged-right procedure happens to entail this decision given the profile. This decision (...)
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  6. Franz Dietrich & Christian List (2013). A Reason-Based Theory of Rational Choice. Noûs 47 (1):104-134.
    There is a surprising disconnect between formal rational choice theory and philosophical work on reasons. The one is silent on the role of reasons in rational choices, the other rarely engages with the formal models of decision problems used by social scientists. To bridge this gap, we propose a new, reason-based theory of rational choice. At its core is an account of preference formation, according to which an agent’s preferences are determined by his or her motivating reasons, together with a (...)
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  7. Alan Hájek & Harris Nover (2006). Perplexing Expectations. Mind 115 (459):703 - 720.
    This paper revisits the Pasadena game (Nover and Háyek 2004), a St Petersburg-like game whose expectation is undefined. We discuss serveral respects in which the Pasadena game is even more troublesome for decision theory than the St Petersburg game. Colyvan (2006) argues that the decision problem of whether or not to play the Pasadena game is ‘ill-posed’. He goes on to advocate a ‘pluralism’ regarding decision rules, which embraces dominance reasoning as well as maximizing expected utility. We rebut Colyvan’s argument, (...)
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  8. Gary Malinas (1993). Reflective Coherence and Newcomb Problems: A Simple Solution. Theory and Decision 35 (2):151-166.
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  9. Howard Margolis (2000). Simple Heuristics That Make Us Dumb. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 23 (5):758-758.
    The simple heuristics that may indeed usually make us smart–or at least smart enough–in contexts of individual choice will sometimes make us dumb, especially in contexts of social choice. Here each individual choice (or vote) has little impact on the overall choice, although the overall choice is compounded out of the individual choices. I use an example (risk aversion) to illustrate the point.
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  10. Alastair Norcross (1998). Great Harms From Small Benefits Grow: How Death Can Be Outweighed by Headaches. Analysis 58 (2):152–158.
    Suppose that a very large number of people, say one billion, will suffer a moderately severe headache for the next twenty-four hours. For these billion people, the next twenty-four hours will be fairly unpleasant, though by no means unbearable. However, there will be no side-effects from these headaches; no drop in productivity in the work-place, no lapses in concentration leading to accidents, no unkind words spoken to loved ones that will later fester. Nonetheless, it is clearly desirable that these billion (...)
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  11. Nassim N. Taleb & Avital Pilpel (2007). Epistemology and Risk Management. Risk and Regulation 13:6--7.
Causal Decision Theory
  1. A. Ahmed (forthcoming). Causal Decision Theory and the Fixity of the Past. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:axt021.
  2. A. Ahmed (2013). Causal Decision Theory: A Counterexample. Philosophical Review 122 (2):289-306.
    The essay presents a novel counterexample to Causal Decision Theory (CDT). Its interest is that it generates a case in which CDT violates the very principles that motivated it in the first place. The essay argues that the objection applies to all extant formulations of CDT and that the only way out for that theory is a modification of it that entails incompatibilism. The essay invites the reader to find this consequence of CDT a reason to reject it.
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  3. Arif Ahmed, Causal Decision Theory is False.
    Causal Decision Theory (CDT) cares only about the effects of a contemplated act, not its causes. The paper constructs a case in which CDT consequently recommends a bet that the agent is certain to lose, rather than a bet that she is certain to win. CDT is plainly giving wrong advice in this case. It therefore stands refuted.
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  4. Arif Ahmed (forthcoming). Dicing with Death. Analysis:anu084.
    You should rather play hide-and-seek against someone who cannot predict where you hide than against someone who can, as the article illustrates in connection with a high-stakes example. Causal Decision Theory denies this. So Causal Decision Theory is false.
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  5. Arif Ahmed (forthcoming). Infallibility in the Newcomb Problem. Erkenntnis:1-13.
    It is intuitively attractive to think that it makes a difference in Newcomb’s problem whether or not the predictor is infallible, in the sense of being certainly actually correct. This paper argues that that view (A) is irrational and (B) manifests a well-documented cognitive illusion.
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  6. Arif Ahmed (2012). Push the Button. Philosophy of Science 79 (3):386-395.
    Opponents of Causal Decision Theory (CDT) sometimes claim (i) that it gives the wrong advice in Egan-style cases, where the CDT-endorsed act brings news that it causes a bad outcome; (ii) that CDT gives the right advice in Newcomb cases, where it is known in advance that the CDT-act causes you to be richer than the alternative. This paper argues that (i) and (ii) cannot both be true if rational preference over acts is transitive.
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  7. Arif Ahmed (2010). Causation and Decision. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 110 (2pt2):111-131.
    Sophisticated ‘tickle’-style defences of Evidential Decision Theory take your motivational state to screen off your act from any state that is causally independent of it, thus ensuring that EDT and CDT converge. That leads to unacceptable instability in cases in which the correct action is obvious. We need a more liberal conception of what the agent controls. It follows that an ordinary deliberator should sometimes consider the past and not only the future to be subject to her present choice.
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  8. Arif Ahmed & Adam Caulton (forthcoming). Causal Decision Theory and EPR Correlations. Synthese:1-38.
    The paper argues that on three out of eight possible hypotheses about the EPR experiment we can construct novel and realistic decision problems on which (a) Causal Decision Theory and Evidential Decision Theory conflict (b) Causal Decision Theory and the EPR statistics conflict. We infer that anyone who fully accepts any of these three hypotheses has strong reasons to reject Causal Decision Theory. Finally, we extend the original construction to show that anyone who gives any of the three hypotheses any (...)
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  9. Arif Ahmed & Huw Price (2012). Arntzenius on 'Why Ain'cha Rich?'. Erkenntnis 77 (1):15-30.
    The best-known argument for Evidential Decision Theory (EDT) is the ‘Why ain’cha rich?’ challenge to rival Causal Decision Theory (CDT). The basis for this challenge is that in Newcomb-like situations, acts that conform to EDT may be known in advance to have the better return than acts that conform to CDT. Frank Arntzenius has recently proposed an ingenious counter argument, based on an example in which, he claims, it is predictable in advance that acts that conform to EDT will do (...)
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  10. M. Albert (2007). The Propensity Theory: A Decision-Theoretic Restatement. Synthese 156 (3):587 - 603.
    Probability theory is important because of its relevance for decision making, which also means: its relevance for the single case. The propensity theory of objective probability, which addresses the single case, is subject to two problems: Humphreys’ problem of inverse probabilities and the problem of the reference class. The paper solves both problems by restating the propensity theory using (an objectivist version of) Pearl’s approach to causality and probability, and by applying a decision-theoretic perspective. Contrary to a widely held view, (...)
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  11. Brad Armendt (1988). Impartiality and Causal Decision Theory. PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1988:326 - 336.
    Defenders of sophisticated evidential decision theory (EDT) have argued (1) that its failure to provide correct recommendations in problems where the agent believes himself asymmetrically fallible in executing his choices is no flaw of the theory, and (2) that causal decision theory gives incorrect recommendations in certain examples unless it is supplemented with an additional metatickle or ratifiability deliberation mechanism. In the first part of this paper, I argue that both positions are incorrect. In the second part of the paper, (...)
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  12. Brad Armendt (1986). A Foundation for Causal Decision Theory. Topoi 5 (1):3-19.
    The primary aim of this paper is the presentation of a foundation for causal decision theory. This is worth doing because causal decision theory (CDT) is philosophically the most adequate rational decision theory now available. I will not defend that claim here by elaborate comparison of the theory with all its competitors, but by providing the foundation. This puts the theory on an equal footing with competitors for which foundations have already been given. It turns out that it will also (...)
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  13. Richard Bradley (2001). Foundations of Causal Decision Theory, James M. Joyce. Cambridge University Press, 1999, XII + 268 Pages. [REVIEW] Economics and Philosophy 17 (2):275-294.
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  14. Richard Bradley (2001). Review. James M. Joyce 'Foundations of Causal Decision Theory' [Book Review]. Economics and Philosophy 17 (2):275-294.
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  15. John Cantwell (2010). On an Alleged Counter-Example to Causal Decision Theory. Synthese 173 (2):127 - 152.
    An alleged counterexample to causal decision theory, put forward by Andy Egan, is studied in some detail. It is argued that Egan rejects the evaluation of causal decision theory on the basis of a description of the decision situation that is different from—indeed inconsistent with—the description on which causal decision theory makes its evaluation. So the example is not a counterexample to causal decision theory. Nevertheless, the example shows that causal decision theory can recommend unratifiable acts (acts that once decided (...)
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  16. Eric G. Cavalcanti (2010). Causation, Decision Theory, and Bell's Theorem: A Quantum Analogue of the Newcomb Problem. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 61 (3):569-597.
    I apply some of the lessons from quantum theory, in particular from Bell’s theorem, to a debate on the foundations of decision theory and causation. By tracing a formal analogy between the basic assumptions of causal decision theory (CDT)—which was developed partly in response to Newcomb’s problem— and those of a local hidden variable theory in the context of quantum mechanics, I show that an agent who acts according to CDT and gives any nonzero credence to some possible causal interpretations (...)
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  17. John Collins, Supposition and Choice: Why 'Causal Decision Theory' is a Misnomer.
    This paper has as its topic two recent philosophical disputes. One of these disputes is internal to the project known as decision theory, and while by now familiar to many, may well seem to be of pressing concern only to specialists. It has been carried on over the last twenty years or so, but by now the two opposing camps are pretty well entrenched in their respective positions, and the situation appears to many observers (as well as to some of (...)
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  18. Daniel Dohrn, DeRose on the Conditionals of Deliberation.
    I take issue with two claims of DeRose: Conditionals of deliberation must not depend on backtracking grounds. ‘Were’ed-up conditionals coincide with future-directed indicative conditionals; the only difference in their meaning is that they must not depend on backtracking grounds. I use Egan’s counterexamples to causal decision theory to contest the first and an example of backtracking reasoning by David Lewis to contest the second claim. I tentatively outline a rivaling account of ‘were’ed-up conditionals which combines features of the standard analysis (...)
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  19. Dorothy Edgington (2011). Conditionals, Causation, and Decision. Analytic Philosophy 52 (2):75-87.
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  20. Ellery Eells (2000). James M. Joyce: The Foundations of Causal Decision Theory. [REVIEW] British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 51 (4):893-900.
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  21. Ellery Eells (1984). Causal Decision Theory. PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1984:177 - 200.
    After a brief presentation of evidential decision theory, causal decision theory, and Newcomb type prima facie counterexamples to the evidential theory, three kinds of "metatickle" defenses of the evidential theory are discussed. Each has its weaknesses, but one of them seems stronger than the other two. The weaknesses of the best of the three, and the intricacy of metatickle analysis, does not constitute an advantage of causal decision theory over the evidential theory, however. It is argued, by way of an (...)
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  22. Andy Egan (2007). Some Counterexamples to Causal Decision Theory. Philosophical Review 116 (1):93-114.
    Many philosophers (myself included) have been converted to causal decision theory by something like the following line of argument: Evidential decision theory endorses irrational courses of action in a range of examples, and endorses “an irrational policy of managing the news”. These are fatal problems for evidential decision theory. Causal decision theory delivers the right results in the troublesome examples, and does not endorse this kind of irrational news-managing. So we should give up evidential decision theory, and be causal decision (...)
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  23. Justin C. Fisher, Disposition-Based Decision Theory.
    I develop and defend a version of what I call Disposition-Based Decision Theory (or DBDT). I point out important problems in David Gauthier’s (1985, 1986) formulation of DBDT, and carefully develop a more defensible formulation. I then compare my version of DBDT to the currently most widely accepted decision theory, Causal Decision Theory (CDT). Traditional intuition-based arguments fail to give us any strong reason to prefer either theory over the other, but I propose an alternative strategy for resolving this debate. (...)
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  24. Branden Fitelson (2003). Review: The Foundations of Causal Decision Theory. [REVIEW] Mind 112 (447):545-551.
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  25. Allan Gibbard & William Harper (1978). Counterfactuals and Two Kinds of Expected Utility. In A. Hooker, J. J. Leach & E. F. McClennen (eds.), Foundations and Applications of Decision Theory. D. Reidel. 125-162.
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  26. Johan E. Gustafsson (2011). A Note in Defence of Ratificationism. Erkenntnis 75 (1):147–150.
    Andy Egan argues that neither evidential nor causal decision theory gives the intuitively right recommendation in the cases The Smoking Lesion, The Psychopath Button, and The Three-Option Smoking Lesion. Furthermore, Egan argues that we cannot avoid these problems by any kind of ratificationism. This paper develops a new version of ratificationism that gives the right recommendations. Thus, the new proposal has an advantage over evidential and casual decision theory and standard ratificationist evidential decision theory.
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  27. William Harper (1988). Decisions, Games and Equilibrium Solutions. PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1988:344 - 362.
    This paper includes a survey of decision theories directed toward exploring the adequacy of alternative approaches for application to game theoretic reasoning, a review of the classic results of von Neumann and Morgenstern and Nash about equilibrium solutions, an account of a recent challenge to the idea that solutions should be equilibria, and, finally, an explicit reconstruction and defense (using the resources of causal decision theory) of the classic indirect argument for equilibrium solutions.
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  28. William Harper (1986). Mixed Strategies and Ratifiability in Causal Decision Theory. Erkenntnis 24 (1):25 - 36.
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  29. William Harper (1984). Ratifiability and Causal Decision Theory: Comments on Eells and Seidenfeld. PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1984:213 - 228.
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  30. Christopher Read Hitchcock (1996). Causal Decision Theory and Decision-Theoretic Causation. Noûs 30 (4):508-526.
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  31. Daniel Hunter & Reed Richter (1978). Counterfactuals and Newcomb's Paradox. Synthese 39 (2):249 - 261.
    In their development of causal decision theory, Allan Gibbard and William Harper advocate a particular method for calculating the expected utility of an action, a method based upon the probabilities of certain counterfactuals. Gibbard and Harper then employ their method to support a two-box solution to Newcomb’s paradox. This paper argues against some of Gibbard and Harper’s key claims concerning the truth-values and probabilities of counterfactuals involved in expected utility calculations, thereby disputing their analysis of Newcomb’s Paradox. If we are (...)
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  32. M. Janusz (2001). The Foundations of Causal Decision Theory. Philosophical Review 110 (2):296-300.
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  33. Richard Jeffrey (1981). The Logic of Decision Defended. Synthese 48 (3):473 - 492.
    The approach to decision theory floated in my 1965 book is reviewed (I), challenged in various related ways (II–V) and defended, firstad hoc (II–IV) and then by a general argument of Ellery Ells's (VI). Finally, causal decision theory (in a version sketched in VII) is exhibited as a special case of my 1965 theory, according to the Eellsian argument.
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  34. James Joyce (1999). The Foundations of Causal Decision Theory. Cambridge University Press.
  35. James M. Joyce (2002). Levi on Causal Decision Theory and the Possibility of Predicting One's Own Actions. Philosophical Studies 110 (1):69 - 102.
    Isaac Levi has long criticized causal decisiontheory on the grounds that it requiresdeliberating agents to make predictions abouttheir own actions. A rational agent cannot, heclaims, see herself as free to choose an actwhile simultaneously making a prediction abouther likelihood of performing it. Levi is wrongon both points. First, nothing in causaldecision theory forces agents to makepredictions about their own acts. Second,Levi's arguments for the ``deliberation crowdsout prediction thesis'' rely on a flawed modelof the measurement of belief. Moreover, theability of agents (...)
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  36. James M. Joyce (2000). Why We Still Need the Logic of Decision. Philosophy of Science 67 (3):13.
    In The Logic of Decision Richard Jeffrey defends a version of expected utility theory that advises agents to choose acts with an eye to securing evidence for thinking that desirable results will ensue. Proponents of "causal" decision theory have argued that Jeffrey's account is inadequate because it fails to properly discriminate the causal features of acts from their merely evidential properties. Jeffrey's approach has also been criticized on the grounds that it makes it impossible to extract a unique probability/utility representation (...)
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  37. David Lewis (1983). Levi Against U-Maximization. Journal of Philosophy 80 (9):531-534.
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  38. David Lewis (1981). Causal Decision Theory. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 59 (1):5 – 30.
    Newcomb's problem and similar cases show the need to incorporate causal distinctions into the theory of rational decision; the usual noncausal decision theory, though simpler, does not always give the right answers. I give my own version of causal decision theory, compare it with versions offered by several other authors, and suggest that the versions have more in common than meets the eye.
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  39. Patrick Maher (1990). Symptomatic Acts and the Value of Evidence in Causal Decision Theory. Philosophy of Science 57 (3):479-498.
    A "symptomatic act" is an act that is evidence for a state that it has no tendency to cause. In this paper I show that when the evidential value of a symptomatic act might influence subsequent choices, causal decision theory may initially recommend against its own use for those subsequent choices. And if one knows that one will nevertheless use causal decision theory to make those subsequent choices, causal decision theory may favor the one-box solution in Newcomb's problem, and may (...)
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