Conditionals, Probabilities, and Utilities: More on Two Envelopes

Mind 119 (473):171-183 (2010)
Sutton ( 2010 ) claims that on our analysis (2007), the problem in the two-envelope paradox is an error in counterfactual reasoning. In fact, we distinguish two formulations of the paradox, only one of which, on our account, involves an error in conditional reasoning. According to Sutton, it is conditional probabilities rather than subjunctive conditionals that are essential to the problem. We argue, however, that his strategy for assigning utilities on the basis of conditional probabilities leads to absurdity. In addition, we show that a crucial presupposition of Sutton’s argument — namely, that one can know that envelope A contains n simply on the basis of a stipulation — is mistaken
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DOI 10.1093/mind/fzq003
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