Reflections on deliberative coherence

Synthese 76 (1):83 - 121 (1988)
Abstract
This paper treats two problem cases in decision theory, the Newcomb problem and Reed Richter''s Button III. Although I argue that, contrary to Richter, the latter case does not constitute a genuine counterexample to a standard general proposition of (causal) decision theory, I agree with and undertake to amplify his solution to the decision problem in Button III. I then apply the conclusions and distinctions in the foregoing treatment of Button III to the Newcomb problem and argue that a familiar version of the dominance argument for taking both boxes runs afoul of plausible general constraints on rational agency. The underlying theme of the paper is that basic considerations of epistemic coherence play an important role in dealing with problem cases in decision theory.
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Gilbert Harman (1973). Thought. Princeton University Press.

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