Decision theory in light of newcomb's problem

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
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1086/289259
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 22,570
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

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 (1990). Newcomblike Problems. Midwest Studies in Philosophy 15 (1):224-255.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

67 ( #68,213 of 1,938,522 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

11 ( #49,584 of 1,938,522 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.