David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Philosophy of Science 52 (3):431-450 (1985)
Should we act only for the sake of what we might bring about (causal decision theory); or is it enough for a decent motive that our action is highly correlated with something desirable (evidential decision theory)? The conflict between these points of view is embodied in Newcomb's problem. It is argued here that intuitive evidence from familiar decision contexts does not enable us to settle the issue, since the two theories dictate the same results in normal circumstances. Nevertheless, there are several reasons to reject the causal approach: (1) its relative complexity; (2) its commitment to the existence of situations in which every possible act would be irrational; (3) its incorporation of an arbitrary time bias; and (4) its implicit distinction between what ought to be done and what ought to be hoped for.
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Citations of this work BETA
Jordan Howard Sobel (1986). Notes on Decision Theory: Old Wine in New Bottles. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 64 (4):407 – 437.
Jordan Howard Sobel (1988). Defenses and Conservative Revisions of Evidential Decision Theories: Metatickles and Ratificationism. Synthese 75 (1):107 - 131.
Jordan Howard Sobel (1990). Newcomblike Problems. Midwest Studies in Philosophy 15 (1):224-255.
Jordan Howard Sobel (1991). Non-Dominance, Third Person and Non-Action Newcomb Problems, and Metatickles. Synthese 86 (2):143 - 172.
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