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  1. Sequential Choice and the Agent's Perspective.Arif Ahmed - manuscript
    Causal Decision Theory reckons the choice-worthiness of an option to be completely independent of its evidential bearing on its non-effects. But after one has made a choice this bearing is relevant to future decisions. Therefore it is possible to construct problems of sequential choice in which Causal Decision Theory makes a guaranteed loss. So Causal Decision Theory is wrong. The source of the problem is the idea that agents have a special perspective on their own contemplated actions, from which evidential (...)
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  2. Frustration and Delay.Arif Ahmed - manuscript
    A decision problem where Causal Decision Theory (CDT) declines a free $1,000, with the foreseeable effect that the agent is $1,000 poorer, and in no other way better off, than if she had taken the offer.
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  3. Why You Should One-Box in Newcomb's Problem.Howard J. Simmons - manuscript
    I consider a familiar argument for two-boxing in Newcomb's Problem and find it defective because it involves a type of divergence from standard Baysian reasoning, which, though sometimes justified, conflicts with the stipulations of the Newcomb scenario. In an appendix, I also find fault with a different argument for two-boxing that has been presented by Graham Priest.
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  4. Four Approaches to Supposition.Benjamin Eva, Ted Shear & Branden Fitelson - forthcoming - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy.
    Suppositions can be introduced in either the indicative or subjunctive mood. The introduction of either type of supposition initiates judgments that may be either qualitative, binary judgments about whether a given proposition is acceptable or quantitative, numerical ones about how acceptable it is. As such, accounts of qualitative/quantitative judgment under indicative/subjunctive supposition have been developed in the literature. We explore these four different types of theories by systematically explicating the relationships canonical representatives of each. Our representative qualitative accounts of indicative (...)
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  5. Newcomb’s Problem, Arif Ahmed (Editor). Cambridge University Press, 2018, 233 Pages. [REVIEW]J. Dmitri Gallow - forthcoming - Economics and Philosophy.
    Newcomb’s Problem, Arif Ahmed (editor). Cambridge University Press, 2018, 233 pages.
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  6. The Intrinsic Value of Risky Prospects.Zeev Goldschmidt & Ittay Nissan-Rozen - forthcoming - Synthese:1-23.
    We study the representation of attitudes to risk in Jeffrey’s decision-theoretic framework suggested by Stefánsson and Bradley :602–625, 2015; Br J Philos Sci 70:77–102, 2017) and Bradley :231–248, 2016; Decisions theory with a human face, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2017). We show that on this representation, the value of any prospect may be expressed as a sum of two components, the prospect’s instrumental value and the prospect’s intrinsic value. Both components have an expectational form. We also make a distinction between (...)
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  7. The Evidentialist's Wager.William MacAskill, Aron Vallinder, Caspar Oesterheld, Carl Shulman & Johannes Treutlein - forthcoming - Journal of Philosophy.
    Suppose that an altruistic agent who is uncertain between evidential and causal decision theory finds herself in a situation where these theories give conflicting verdicts. We argue that even if she has significantly higher credence in CDT, she should nevertheless act in accordance with EDT. First, we claim that the appropriate response to normative uncertainty is to hedge one’s bets. That is, if the stakes are much higher on one theory than another, and the credences you assign to each of (...)
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  8. Tournament Decision Theory.Abelard Podgorski - forthcoming - Noûs.
    The dispute in philosophical decision theory between causalists and evidentialists remains unsettled. Many are attracted to the causal view’s endorsement of a species of dominance reasoning, and to the intuitive verdicts it gets on a range of cases with the structure of the infamous Newcomb’s Problem. But it also faces a rising wave of purported counterexamples and theoretical challenges. In this paper I will describe a novel decision theory which saves what is appealing about the causal view while avoiding its (...)
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  9. Rational Monism and Rational Pluralism.Jack Spencer - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies.
    Consequentialists often assume rational monism: the thesis that options are always made rationally permissible by the maximization of the selfsame quantity. This essay argues that consequentialists should reject rational monism and instead accept rational pluralism: the thesis that, on different occasions, options are made rationally permissible by the maximization of different quantities. The essay then develops a systematic form of rational pluralism which, unlike its rivals, is capable of handling both the Newcomb problems that challenge evidential decision theory and the (...)
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  10. An Interventionist’s Guide to Exotic Choice.Reuben Stern - forthcoming - Mind:fzaa082.
    In this paper, I use interventionist causal models to identify some novel Newcomb problems, and subsequently use these problems to refine existing interventionist treatments of causal decision theory. The new Newcomb problems that stir trouble for existing interventionist treatments involve so-called "exotic choice" --- i.e., decision-making contexts where the agent has evidence about the outcome of her choice. I argue that when choice is exotic, the interventionist can adequately capture causal-decision-theoretic reasoning by introducing a new interventionist approach to updating on (...)
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  11. Equal Opportunities in Newcomb’s Problem and Elsewhere.Arif Ahmed - 2020 - Mind 129 (515):867-886.
    The paper discusses Ian Wells’s recent argument that there is a decision problem in which followers of Evidential Decision Theory end up poorer than followers of Causal Decision Theory despite having the same opportunities for money. It defends Evidential Decision Theory against Wells’s argument, on the following grounds. Wells's has not presented a decision problem in which his main claim is true. Four possible decision problems can be generated from his central example, in each of which followers of Evidential Decision (...)
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  12. Frankfurt Cases and the Newcomb Problem.Arif Ahmed - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (11):3391-3408.
    A standard argument for one-boxing in Newcomb’s Problem is ‘Why Ain’cha Rich?’, which emphasizes that one-boxers typically make a million dollars compared to the thousand dollars that two-boxers can expect. A standard reply is the ‘opportunity defence’: the two-boxers who made a thousand never had an opportunity to make more. The paper argues that the opportunity defence is unavailable to anyone who grants that in another case—a Frankfurt case—the agent is deprived of opportunities in the way that advocates of Frankfurt (...)
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  13. Objective Value Is Always Newcombizable.Arif Ahmed & Jack Spencer - 2020 - Mind 129 (516):1157-1192.
    This paper argues that evidential decision theory is incompatible with options having objective values. If options have objective values, then it should always be rationally permissible for an agent to choose an option if they are certain that the option uniquely maximizes objective value. But, as we show, if options have objective values and evidential decision theory is true, then it is not always rationally permissible for an agent to choose an option if they are certain that the option uniquely (...)
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  14. Newcomb University: A Play in One Act.Adam Elga - 2020 - Analysis 80 (2):212-221.
    Counter-intuitive consequences of both causal decision theory and evidential decision theory are dramatized. Each of those theories is thereby put under some pressure to supply an error theory to explain away intuitions that seem to favour the other. Because trouble is stirred up for both sides, complacency about Newcomb’s problem is discouraged.
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  15. The Causal Decision Theorist's Guide to Managing the News.J. Dmitri Gallow - 2020 - Journal of Philosophy 117 (3):117-149.
    According to orthodox causal decision theory, performing an action can give you information about factors outside of your control, but you should not take this information into account when deciding what to do. Causal decision theorists caution against an irrational policy of 'managing the news'. But, by providing information about factors outside of your control, performing an act can give you two, importantly different, kinds of good news. It can tell you that the world in which you find yourself is (...)
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  16. The Termination Risks of Simulation Science.Preston Greene - 2020 - Erkenntnis 85 (2):489-509.
    Historically, the hypothesis that our world is a computer simulation has struck many as just another improbable-but-possible “skeptical hypothesis” about the nature of reality. Recently, however, the simulation hypothesis has received significant attention from philosophers, physicists, and the popular press. This is due to the discovery of an epistemic dependency: If we believe that our civilization will one day run many simulations concerning its ancestry, then we should believe that we are probably in an ancestor simulation right now. This essay (...)
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  17. Evidence and Rationalization.Ian Wells - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (3):845-864.
    Suppose that you have to take a test tomorrow but you do not want to study. Unfortunately you should study, since you care about passing and you expect to pass only if you study. Is there anything you can do to make it the case that you should not study? Is there any way for you to ‘rationalize’ slacking off? I suggest that such rationalization is impossible. Then I show that if evidential decision theory is true, rationalization is not only (...)
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  18. Equal Opportunity and Newcomb’s Problem.Ian Wells - 2019 - Mind 128 (510):429-457.
    The 'Why ain'cha rich?' argument for one-boxing in Newcomb's problem allegedly vindicates evidential decision theory and undermines causal decision theory. But there is a good response to the argument on behalf of causal decision theory. I develop this response. Then I pose a new problem and use it to give a new 'Why ain'cha rich?' argument. Unlike the old argument, the new argument targets evidential decision theory. And unlike the old argument, the new argument is sound.
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  19. Newcomb's Problem.Arif Ahmed (ed.) - 2018 - Cambridge University Press.
    Newcomb's Problem is a controversial paradox of decision theory. It is easily explained and easily understood, and there is a strong chance that most of us have actually faced it in some form or other. And yet it has proven as thorny and intractable a puzzle as much older and better-known philosophical problems of consciousness, scepticism and fatalism. It brings into very sharp and focused disagreement several long-standing philosophical theories on practical rationality, on the nature of free will, and on (...)
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  20. Decision-Theoretic Pluralism.Adam Bales - 2018 - Philosophical Quarterly 68 (273):801-818.
    A prominent philosophical debate concerns whether we should accept causal decision theory or evidential decision theory as our best theory of rational choice. However, instead of accepting one of these theories at the expense of the other, an alternative would be to accept that both theories play a partial role in the true account of rational choice. In this paper, I defend a pluralist account of this sort. In particular, I argue that rational permissibility is an indeterminate notion, with EDT (...)
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  21. Success-First Decision Theories.Preston Greene - 2018 - In Arif Ahmed (ed.), Newcomb's Problem. Cambridge University Press. pp. 115–137.
    The standard formulation of Newcomb's problem compares evidential and causal conceptions of expected utility, with those maximizing evidential expected utility tending to end up far richer. Thus, in a world in which agents face Newcomb problems, the evidential decision theorist might ask the causal decision theorist: "if you're so smart, why ain’cha rich?” Ultimately, however, the expected riches of evidential decision theorists in Newcomb problems do not vindicate their theory, because their success does not generalize. Consider a theory that allows (...)
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  22. "Click!" Bait for Causalists.Huw Price & Yang Liu - 2018 - In Arif Ahmed (ed.), Newcomb's Problem. Cambridge ; New York, NY: Cambridge University Press. pp. 160-179.
    Causalists and Evidentialists can agree about the right course of action in an (apparent) Newcomb problem, if the causal facts are not as initially they seem. If declining $1,000 causes the Predictor to have placed $1m in the opaque box, CDT agrees with EDT that one-boxing is rational. This creates a difficulty for Causalists. We explain the problem with reference to Dummett's work on backward causation and Lewis's on chance and crystal balls. We show that the possibility that the causal (...)
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  23. Do the EPR Correlations Pose a Problem for Causal Decision Theory?Adam Koberinski, Lucas Dunlap & William L. Harper - 2017 - Synthese:1-12.
    We argue that causal decision theory is no worse off than evidential decision theory in handling entanglement, regardless of one’s preferred interpretation of quantum mechanics. In recent works, Ahmed and Ahmed and Caulton : 4315–4352, 2014) have claimed the opposite; we argue that they are mistaken. Bell-type experiments are not instances of Newcomb problems, so CDT and EDT do not diverge in their recommendations. We highlight the fact that a Causal Decision Theorist should take all lawlike correlations into account, including (...)
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  24. Newcomb Meets Gettier.Ittay Nissan-Rozen - 2017 - Synthese 194 (12):4799-4814.
    I show that accepting Moss’s claim that features of a rational agent’s credence function can constitute knowledge, together with the claim that a rational agent should only act on the basis of reasons that he knows, predicts and explains evidential decision theory’s failure to recommend the right choice for the Newcomb problem. The Newcomb problem can be seen, in light of Moss’s suggestion, as a manifestation of a Gettier case in the domain of choice. This serves as strong evidence for (...)
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  25. Review of A. Ahmed, Evidence, Decision and Causality. [REVIEW]H. Orri Stefánsson - 2016 - Philosophy of Science 83 (1):159-169.
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  26. Causal Decision Theory and EPR Correlations.Arif Ahmed & Adam Caulton - 2014 - Synthese 191 (18):4315-4352.
    The paper argues that on three out of eight possible hypotheses about the EPR experiment we can construct novel and realistic decision problems on which (a) Causal Decision Theory and Evidential Decision Theory conflict (b) Causal Decision Theory and the EPR statistics conflict. We infer that anyone who fully accepts any of these three hypotheses has strong reasons to reject Causal Decision Theory. Finally, we extend the original construction to show that anyone who gives any of the three hypotheses any (...)
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  27. Diagnostic Preliminaries to Applying a Theory of Decision.Mariam Thalos - 2014 - SATS 15 (2):168-196.
    Journal Name: SATS Issue: Ahead of print.
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  28. Gandalf’s Solution to the Newcomb Problem.Ralph Wedgwood - 2013 - Synthese 190 (14):2643–2675.
    This article proposes a new theory of rational decision, distinct from both causal decision theory (CDT) and evidential decision theory (EDT). First, some intuitive counterexamples to CDT and EDT are presented. Then the motivation for the new theory is given: the correct theory of rational decision will resemble CDT in that it will not be sensitive to any comparisons of absolute levels of value across different states of nature, but only to comparisons of the differences in value between the available (...)
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  29. Conditionals, Causation, and Decision.Dorothy Edgington - 2011 - Analytic Philosophy 52 (2):75-87.
  30. A Note in Defence of Ratificationism.Johan E. Gustafsson - 2011 - Erkenntnis 75 (1):147-150.
    Andy Egan argues that neither evidential nor causal decision theory gives the intuitively right recommendation in the cases The Smoking Lesion, The Psychopath Button, and The Three-Option Smoking Lesion. Furthermore, Egan argues that we cannot avoid these problems by any kind of ratificationism. This paper develops a new version of ratificationism that gives the right recommendations. Thus, the new proposal has an advantage over evidential and casual decision theory and standard ratificationist evidential decision theory.
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  31. Causation and Decision.Arif Ahmed - 2010 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 110 (2pt2):111-131.
    Sophisticated ‘tickle’-style defences of Evidential Decision Theory take your motivational state to screen off your act from any state that is causally independent of it, thus ensuring that EDT and CDT converge. That leads to unacceptable instability in cases in which the correct action is obvious. We need a more liberal conception of what the agent controls. It follows that an ordinary deliberator should sometimes consider the past and not only the future to be subject to her present choice.
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  32. Binding and its Consequences.Christopher J. G. Meacham - 2010 - Philosophical Studies 149 (1):49-71.
    In “Bayesianism, Infinite Decisions, and Binding”, Arntzenius et al. (Mind 113:251–283, 2004 ) present cases in which agents who cannot bind themselves are driven by standard decision theory to choose sequences of actions with disastrous consequences. They defend standard decision theory by arguing that if a decision rule leads agents to disaster only when they cannot bind themselves, this should not be taken to be a mark against the decision rule. I show that this claim has surprising implications for a (...)
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  33. Pascal’s Wager, Infective Endocarditis and the “No-Lose” Philosophy in Medicine.David Shaw & David Conway - 2010 - Heart 96 (1):15-18.
    Doctors and dentists have traditionally used antibiotic prophylaxis in certain patient groups in order to prevent infective endocarditis (IE). New guidelines, however, suggest that the risk to patients from using antibiotics is higher than the risk from IE. This paper analyses the relative risks of prescribing and not prescribing antibiotic prophylaxis against the background of Pascal’s Wager, the infamous assertion that it is better to believe in God regardless of evidence, because of the prospective benefits should He exist. Many doctors (...)
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  34. Jeffrey Conditioning and External Bayesianity.Carl Wagner - 2010 - Logic Journal of the IGPL 18 (2):336-345.
    Suppose that several individuals who have separately assessed prior probability distributions over a set of possible states of the world wish to pool their individual distributions into a single group distribution, while taking into account jointly perceived new evidence. They have the option of first updating their individual priors and then pooling the resulting posteriors or first pooling their priors and then updating the resulting group prior. If the pooling method that they employ is such that they arrive at the (...)
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  35. Diachronic Rationality and Prediction-Based Games.David Wallace - 2010 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 110 (3pt3):243-266.
    I explore the debate about causal versus evidential decision theory, and its recent developments in the work of Andy Egan, through the method of some simple games based on agents' predictions of each other's actions. My main focus is on the requirement for rational agents to act in a way which is consistent over time and its implications for such games and their more realistic cousins.
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  36. The Oxford Handbook of Causation.Helen Beebee, Christopher Hitchcock & Peter Menzies (eds.) - 2009 - Oxford University Press UK.
    Causation is a central topic in many areas of philosophy. In metaphysics, philosophers want to know what causation is, and how it is related to laws of nature, probability, action, and freedom of the will. In epistemology, philosophers investigate how causal claims can be inferred from statistical data, and how causation is related to perception, knowledge and explanation. In the philosophy of mind, philosophers want to know whether and how the mind can be said to have causal efficacy, and in (...)
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  37. Evaluating Extreme Risks in Invasion Ecology: Learning From Banking Compliance.James Franklin, Mark Burgman, Scott Sisson & J. K. Martin - 2008 - Diversity and Distributions 14:581-591.
    methods that have shown promise for improving extreme risk analysis, particularly for assessing the risks of invasive pests and pathogens associated with international trade. We describe the legally inspired regulatory regime for banks, where these methods have been brought to bear on extreme ‘operational risks’. We argue that an ‘advocacy model’ similar to that used in the Basel II compliance regime for bank operational risks and to a lesser extent in biosecurity import risk analyses is ideal for permitting the diversity (...)
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  38. The Time-Asymmetry of Causation.Huw Price & Brad Weslake - 2008 - In Helen Beebee, Peter Menzies & Christopher Hitchcock (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Causation. Oxford University Press.
    One of the most striking features of causation is that causes typically precede their effects – the causal arrow is strongly aligned with the temporal arrow. Why should this be so? We offer an opinionated guide to this problem, and to the solutions currently on offer. We conclude that the most promising strategy is to begin with the de facto asymmetry of human deliberation, characterised in epistemic terms, and to build out from there. More than any rival, this subjectivist approach (...)
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  39. Decision Theory, Intelligent Planning and Counterfactuals.Michael John Shaffer - 2008 - Minds and Machines 19 (1):61-92.
    The ontology of decision theory has been subject to considerable debate in the past, and discussion of just how we ought to view decision problems has revealed more than one interesting problem, as well as suggested some novel modifications of classical decision theory. In this paper it will be argued that Bayesian, or evidential, decision-theoretic characterizations of decision situations fail to adequately account for knowledge concerning the causal connections between acts, states, and outcomes in decision situations, and so they are (...)
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  40. Freedom, Fiction and Evidential Decision Theory.Phyllis Kirstin McKay - 2007 - Erkenntnis 66 (3):393-407.
    This paper argues against evidential decision-theory, by showing that the newest responses to its biggest current problem – the medical Newcomb problems – don’t work. The latest approach is described, and the arguments of two main proponents of it – Huw Price and CR Hitchcock – clearly distinguished and examined. It is argued that since neither new defence is successful, causation remains essential to understanding means-end agency.
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  41. Are Newcomb Problems Really Decisions?James M. Joyce - 2006 - Synthese 156 (3):537-562.
    Richard Jeffrey long held that decision theory should be formulated without recourse to explicitly causal notions. Newcomb problems stand out as putative counterexamples to this ‘evidential’ decision theory. Jeffrey initially sought to defuse Newcomb problems via recourse to the doctrine of ratificationism, but later came to see this as problematic. We will see that Jeffrey’s worries about ratificationism were not compelling, but that valid ratificationist arguments implicitly presuppose causal decision theory. In later work, Jeffrey argued that Newcomb problems are not (...)
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  42. Demons, Deceivers And Liars: Newcomb’s Malin Génie. [REVIEW]Peter Slezak - 2006 - Theory and Decision 61 (3):277-303.
    A fully adequate solution to Newcomb’s Problem (Nozick 1969) should reveal the source of its extraordinary elusiveness and persistent intractability. Recently, a few accounts have independently sought to meet this criterion of adequacy by exposing the underlying source of the problem’s profound puzzlement. Thus, Sorensen (1987), Slezak (1998), Priest (2002) and Maitzen and Wilson (2003) share the ‘no box’ view according to which the very idea that there is a right choice is misconceived since the problem is ill-formed or incoherent (...)
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  43. Evidential Decision Theory and Medical Newcomb Problems.Arif Ahmed - 2005 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 56 (2):191-198.
    has offered evidential decision theorists a defence against the charge that they make unintuitive recommendations for cases like Newcomb's Problem. He says that when conditional probabilities are assessed from the agent's point of view, evidential decision theory makes the same recommendation as intuition. I argue that calculating the probabilities in Price's way leads to no recommendation. It condemns the agent to perpetual oscillation between different options. Price's Argument Instability Objections Conclusion.
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  44. An Existence Theorem for the Logic of Decision.Ethan D. Bolker - 2000 - Philosophy of Science 67 (3):17.
    In this paper I discuss some of the mathematics behind an often quoted existence theorem from Richard Jeffrey's The Logic of Decision (Jeffrey 1990) in order to pose several new questions about the meaning and value of that mathematics for decision theory.
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  45. Why We Still Need the Logic of Decision.James M. Joyce - 2000 - Philosophy of Science 67 (3):13.
    In The Logic of Decision Richard Jeffrey defends a version of expected utility theory that advises agents to choose acts with an eye to securing evidence for thinking that desirable results will ensue. Proponents of "causal" decision theory have argued that Jeffrey's account is inadequate because it fails to properly discriminate the causal features of acts from their merely evidential properties. Jeffrey's approach has also been criticized on the grounds that it makes it impossible to extract a unique probability/utility representation (...)
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  46. Probability and the Art of Judgment.Richard Jeffrey - 1992 - Cambridge University Press.
    Richard Jeffrey is beyond dispute one of the most distinguished and influential philosophers working in the field of decision theory and the theory of knowledge. His work is distinctive in showing the interplay of epistemological concerns with probability and utility theory. Not only has he made use of standard probabilistic and decision theoretic tools to clarify concepts of evidential support and informed choice, he has also proposed significant modifications of the standard Bayesian position in order that it provide a better (...)
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  47. Probability Kinematics and Causality.Richard C. Jeffrey - 1992 - PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1992:365 - 373.
    Making up your mind can include making up your mind about how to change your mind. Here a suggestion for coding imputations of influence into the kinematics of judgmental probabilities is applied to the treatment of Newcomb problems in The Logic of Decision framework. The suggestion is that what identifies you as treating judgmental probabilistic covariance of X and Y as measuring an influence of X on Y is constancy of your probabilities for values of Y conditionally on values of (...)
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  48. Agency and Probabilistic Causality.Huw Price - 1991 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 42 (2):157-176.
    Probabilistic accounts of causality have long had trouble with ‘spurious’ evidential correlations. Such correlations are also central to the case for causal decision theory—the argument that evidential decision theory is inadequate to cope with certain sorts of decision problem. However, there are now several strong defences of the evidential theory. Here I present what I regard as the best defence, and apply it to the probabilistic approach to causality. I argue that provided a probabilistic theory appeals to the notions of (...)
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  49. The Popcorn Problem: Sobel on Evidential Decision Theory and Deliberation-Probability Dynamics.Ellery Eells - 1989 - Synthese 81 (1):9 - 20.
    I defend evidential decision theory and the theory of deliberation-probability dynamics from a recent criticism advanced by Jordan Howard Sobel. I argue that his alleged counterexample to the theories, called the Popcorn Problem is not a genuine counterexample.
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  50. Choice and Action: In Defense of Richard Jeffrey's "Logic of Decision".John Piers Rawling - 1989 - Dissertation, University of California, Berkeley
    Richard Jeffrey's Logic of Decision has come under fire on the grounds that it appears to prescribe irrational decisions under certain circumstances . A number of authors see the source of Jeffrey's difficulty as a lack of sensitivity to causal distinctions of a certain kind. They have proposed modifications of Jeffrey's theory to overcome this putative deficiency. David Lewis argues, convincingly, that these modified theories are all more or less the same. In essence, they all augment the Logic of Decision (...)
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