Counterfactuals and newcomb's paradox

Synthese 39 (2):249 - 261 (1978)
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 right, then Gibbard and Harper’s method of calculating expected utility does not adequately represent rational choice.
Keywords Newcomb's Paradox  causal decision theory  decision theory  counterfactuals  evidential decision theory
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DOI 10.1007/BF00485076
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